A note from our editor, Omar Saleem, on why we won’t be joining the social media blackout this weekend and our plans instead:
Silence is not the answer. I truly believe that. As a minority in football, that’s my opinion. Where the ESL caused outrage and some of the most aggressive action in the sport’s history – in the shortest span of time – racism cannot be fought by white-led social media teams suggesting we go silent for the weekend during some of the quietest times on those platforms.
That said, any stance is worthwhile and we support everyone taking part. We value and understand their reasons and hope that it raises the much-needed profile of this enduring battle. We support you.
Instead, on Saturday and Sunday, we will be highlighting four organisations working tirelessly to combat racism in football. These are the people on the front line demanding more, demanding we do better. They know the fight and they should be given the stage to lead.
Before I let you go (sorry if I’m rambling), a few more things – and I apologise if I cause any offence by taking our organisation down this path this weekend. Our senior leadership team of seven and our social media manager all had differing views on what way to go; in the end, I took this decision myself as someone who has encountered racism in the past within football and beyond.
My belief is that silence is not the answer in stopping a group of men from throwing a firework at my sister and calling her a paki. It’s not the answer in stopping drunk fans from telling me to “stick to cricket” on the way to a football match. Nor is it the answer in curtailing a former colleague working professional club in his belief that young black players “reset every night”.
Instead of silence, we need action. We need voices to speak louder than ever, programs that educate and organise. We needed that societally post-George Floyd and we need it in football, too. We need clubs to take genuine action – not the weekend off. We need footballers to lead the fight, social media platforms to be held accountable, and governing bodies to spend as much time and money on anti-racism campaigns as they do opening ceremonies.
In the meantime, we’ll keep recruiting writers and artists from across the world and produce our humble magazine, all while trying to fight for a better future for the sport we love. I hope you understand my reasons, and please take a moment to check out the organisations we highlight this weekend.
Stay and safe and well.