In surely one of the most unsavoury episodes ever witnessed on a training ground, one former Walsall player has spoken about the time he was called a terrorist by a team-mate.
What’s more, the Daily Mail note that Maziar Kouhyar decided to stay silent on the subject for fear of getting into trouble.
That was depite the fact that he appeared to be the target of abuse almost from the outset.
Kouhyar, a British Asian, had moved to Birmingham as an infant with his family, seeking asylum from Afghanistan.
It was the Midlanders who gave him his break in professional football by signing him in 2016. It would quickly turn sour for him however.
“We were just training and one of the lads said something to me about being a terrorist,” he said in quotes run by the Daily Mail.
“I laughed it off, but he said it again. When he said it again, I commented back something like “you’re forcing the laughter now” or “you’ve already tried once, don’t try it again” – just something to make people laugh at him.
“He didn’t like that. We started pushing each other and the players split us up. A member of staff was there while all this happened, and heard it all and saw it all.
“So I expected I’d get called into the office maybe after training to see if I was alright, maybe the player would have some sanctions, but it never got mentioned again.
“I didn’t want to bring anything up. I was trying to get into the first team and get more minutes, so I didn’t want to cause any bad blood, any trouble that would stop me from playing, so I didn’t mention anything either, even though it was hurtful to me.
“Calling me a terrorist was hurtful to me – my family fled from Afghanistan because of terrorists. Calling me that is a bit close to home.”
The revelations only serve to highlight what can go on behind the scenes at a supposedly professional club, and it may force people from different ethnic groups to think again when it comes to their career choices if clubs are not willing to stamp out such vile behaviour.