Thursday, June 21, 2018

Players have the right to refuse to wear anti-racism t-shirts

QPR defender Anton Ferdinand was one of the players that refused to wear anti-racism t-shirts at the weekend

This weekend we saw most players in the Premier League wear yellow anti-racism t-shirts prior to their games.

Some players refused to wear these t-shirts and some have been attacked for their stance.


The likes of Anton Ferdinand, Jason Roberts and Rio Ferdinand, among others refused to wear the t-shirts.

The players felt that the FA didn’t hand out a stiff enough punishment to Chelsea captain John Terry over the race row with Anton Ferdinand.

The players have the right to express their opinions in any way they wish and if they want to make their points by refusing to wear the t-shirts then that is their prerogative.


The clubs are the ones that facilitate the wearing of the anti-racist, but they shouldn’t be allowed to control people’s human rights. Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand refused to wear the t-shirt in support of his brother.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said that Ferdinand would be dealt with. However, I don’t believe Ferguson or anybody else at any club should be taking action against players who are making a point about what they believe in.

The club may pay the wages of the players, but most managers of the players that boycotted the wearing of the t-shirts were supportive of their actions. A number of QPR players refused to wear the t-shirts in support of their teammate Anton Ferdinand.

Hoops boss Mark Hughes has since revealed that he will not punish his players for not wearing the t-shirts. Hughes realises that his players want to show their support for their teammate.


Whether the players that are refusing to wear the t-shirts will achieve anything remains to be seen, but it has certainly raised awareness of racism. In fact it has probably raised more awareness than the actual t-shirts do.

I’m not sure these players are going about it in the right manner, but they have to be applauded for sticking to their beliefs. Not many people stand-up for what they believe in nowadays.


I’m sure fans are supportive of their players and their views. The kick racism out of football campaign is an admirable, but what exactly has the campaign achieved? We have had two very high-profile cases of racism in the last year or so, despite the campaign running for a couple of years now.

I don’t see how wearing t-shirts raises the awareness of racism within the game. It certainly hasn’t helped raise awareness amongst the players, never mind the fans.


I am just wondering if those involved in Serbian football was observing what was going on this weekend in the Premier League. Some of the abuse and treatment of some of the England under-21’s players and staff by Serbian fans was disgusting.


In some countries in Europe racism is commonplace and it’s not punished as severely as in England. The English game has come a long way since the dark ages of football in the 1980’s, were racism was regarded as part of the game.

Thankfully English society and football has come a long way in the last three decades. Some players don’t believe that the English FA are doing enough against racism and they aren’t afraid to express their opinions.

Like anybody else footballers should be allowed to control their actions. If they are not then they will be no more than puppets. These players are right to stand up for what they believe in and have to be respected for that, even if it is unlikely to achieve much.

Are players right to refuse to wear anti-racism t-shirts?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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