If I came back to the story of the Togolese footballer Kévin Denkey, victim of racism in Belgium although I already reported it a few weeks ago, it’s not only because I feel like it hasn’t reached as many people as I wished, but also I think it is not enough to report the unfortunate situation without adding my opinion.
First of all, we have to remember that football is just a game. Even if it has an origin or if it belongs to a group of people or a country, there are certainly people from other countries who play this game better than some who think it is their heritage.
So why do you think a black person should play soccer less or better than a white or dark person? It wasn’t even the case! Ahoueke Steeve Kévin Denkey here was victim of racism because his team was dominating its opponent.
In August, during a football championship match in Belgium, Togolese international Kévin Denkey was the victim of racist comments from some supporters.
Apparently, the striker does not even have the means to escape this situation. Either he would be mocked for winning or for losing the game.
Although the match between his club, Cercle Brugge and Derby Brugge ended in a draw, the Togolese striker according to him, was insulted because of the color of his skin.
Denkey didn’t want to talk about it, but eventually decided to open up on social media.
“I don’t often share my personal thoughts on my social media, but I have to share something with you. I’ve been thinking for some days of actually posting it, but finally I decided to do so because I feel morally obliged since this is going far beyond just playing the game we all love.” he explained first, before continuing:
“Last weekend I was saddened by the supporters of the opposing team who shouted “Monkey, Monkey” at me during the game. Right after the match, in a press report a journalist clearly referred to me as a “Donkey”. I hope this was just an unintentional mistake.”
“ I really believe that everyone can change and be educated. In 2021, there is no excuse for racism or social abuse. We have all the tools to educate ourselves. When you love football, you love everything, including everyone behind, regardless of who they are or their skin color,” he stated on social media.
“There is no place for racism in the world. Always be nicer than you feel and educate yourself to be a better person. One love for people and football.” he concluded.
The next day, the 20-year-old footballer received messages of support from his compatriots and from the Togolese Football Federation.
The compulsion to face racism
It is not fair to make life difficult for our neighbors or colleagues just for the fact that they have a different skin color.
My compatriot may sometimes be afraid of being insulted by his team’s supporters when he makes mistakes.
Unfortunately, the fear of being insulted by his opponents also added to his fears. So there is apparently no way for him to escape the situation.
Besides, it would have been better if the insult hadn’t been linked to his race.
The silence of the media
Many people, especially Togolese media professionals, were saddened by the story told by the player himself days after the bad experience.
Moreover, few media had relayed this subject even after the reaction of the player.
Need to strengthen the fight against discrimination in sport
It is very important to at least strengthen the fight against racism and discrimination, especially in sport.
Indeed, FIFA “has a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination of any kind.” However, we can all admit that many talented people have lost important competitions or even given up their Football careers because of this bad behavior.