Racism in football might be a hot potato topic at present, but the fact is that it’s never truly gone away.
Many of the vile words and actions may have been less noticeable over the years, but there’s no doubt that for a certain section of the football going public, and now anonymous social media accounts, it’s what fuels them.
That said, some at least appear to have seen the light, and for Ian Wright, that’s progress.
“People who have been racially abused, you know the humiliation and all the stuff that comes with it.”
Wright then went on to read a letter from a contributor.
“Good evening. I’m just a random citizen but I’d like you to please pass this on to Ian Wright for me,” it began.
“I support Barnsley FC and I am one of the people who racially abused him during a football match in 1995. I was young and stupid but those are no defences.
“Poor guy said it was understandably one of the worst nights of his life and I would like him to know that I am completely ashamed of my contribution towards it and I find myself thinking about it a lot. I apologise for what I did.”
Wright’s response was heartwarming and genuine.
“Listen my friend, there is redemption for everyone.
“What you have done is one of the ways we tackle racism. Not through revenge or violence but with honesty and maturity.
“I am grateful to you for the time you took sending this email to me and I hold no grudges towards you. We all have a duty to make the world a fairer and better place.”
That even one person has felt the need to apologise for their actions is something at least, but the fact that we are still talking about racism in the game in 2020 is pretty disgusting.
Unfortunately, certain attitudes towards black people and people of colour more generally seem to resonate, still, with some neanderthals.
There’s no real answer to the problem other than to call it out when you see it and educate whenever possible.