Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The NFL cares, FIFA doesn’t: Rex Ryan facing hefty fine while FIFA basically ignores rampant racism in its sport

Interesting incidents across two diverse sports this week. In the NFL, noted fat-mouth Rex Ryan verbally abused a fan at a game with a torrent of expletives that would have made Chuck Norris blush. Meanwhile, FIFA basically slapped the Bulgarian football federations hands after their fans were found guilty of racially abusing several English players during September's Euro 2012 qualifier in Sofia.

Really fascinating to see how the two sports have handled their issues. One, professionally and sternly, the other, well, basically they haven’t handled it at all. No prizes for guessing which is which.

The NFL is going to announce the actual fine today however Sexy Rexy is expected to be going to be $100,000 lighter in his wallet region after they are done with him. This is after he used ‘profane language’ in a split second reaction to a fan at last Sunday night's game against the New England Patriots. This comes hot on the heels after the Jets fined Ryan when he made an obscene gesture to fans at a mixed martial arts event in Miami during Super Bowl week in 2010 ($50,000 that time).

So, let’s get this totally straight in our heads before we move on to the wonderful world of FIFA. The New York Jets head coach is going to be $150,000 worse off by the end of this week for two relatively minor incidents. The message? The NFL and its franchises will not tolerate any kind of tarnish to their glossy coats.

Now, on to FIFA.

During the afore mentioned match, Bulgarian ‘fans’ showered English players with racist chants, targeting England’s black players with bananas, monkey chants and also, somewhat bizarrely, the Nazi salute (is Hitler big in Bulgaria?!).

You stay classy, Bulgaria!

Imagine for a second that happening during the Chiefs v Patriots encounter tonight in New England. Just imagine for one second a section of Kansas fans showering a player or players on the Patriots sidelines with racist chants, bananas and the Nazi salute. I mean, can you imagine the reaction? There is no doubt in my mind the ramifications would be enormous. They are pepper spraying and ‘tazing’ peaceful protesters in the streets, so one would imagine the riot police would have a field day in this imaginary incidence.

Back to FIFA. With the above in mind, FIFA’s reaction to the disgusting behaviour of those Bulgarian fans? They fined the Bulgarian Football Union £34,250.

I suppose you have to pick your jaw up off the floor and remember, this is the same organization that basically ignored the incredible riot performed by Serbian fans earlier this year. This is the organization whose head (The second most corrupt man in the world, Sepp Blatter, losing out narrowly to Vladimir ‘The money was just resting in my account’ Putin) thinks racism on the pitch is not an issue and can be settled with a handshake.

FIFA is absolutely littered with situations where issues stinking of racism have been basically kicked under the carpet. In 2004 the former Spanish international team manager, the despicable Luis Aragonés, called Thierry Henry a ‘’black shit’’. FIFA fined him £2,060. In 2004 FIFA fined Spain (Yes, Spain, again) £44,750 after Spanish fans racially abused English players during a game in Madrid. In 2007 the Serbian Football Federation was fined £16,500 by Uefa (FIFA’s European arm) for "the racist chanting of supporters and the improper conduct of their players" during an under-21 match against England. In 2008 Croatia were fined £10,000 for "displaying a racist banner and showing racist conduct" during their country's Euro 2008 quarter-final against Turkey. In 2008 FIFA again docked Croatia some cash, this time £15,000 after England's Emile Heskey was subjected to racial abuse by home fans during the 4-1 victory in a qualifier for the 2010 World Cup against Croatia in Zagreb.

Add those fines up, all leveled against serious instances of racial abuse (far worse in this columns book than an expletive or two) and you get £88,310. That equates to $136,000.

You can probably see where we are going with this.

Seven long years of horrific racially charged incidents have led FIFA to fine the protagonists $136,000. Two quick outbursts of profanity from Rex Ryan and the NFL has fined him $150,000.

I guess we can see which sport is professional, stern, and determined to do things the right way. And which sport is presided over by FIFA.


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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

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