But Black Players Are Good

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Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom to incite hatred, violence and discrimination against fellow humans, nor is it tantamount to leeway to make haphazard, offensive and insulting remarks.

Georges Frêche, who governs Languedoc-Roussillon region, in France, is learning it the hard and legal way. In February of last year, Frêche called Algerian flunkeys loyal to the French during the Independence War – that resulted in the freedom of Algeria from France in 1962 – “sub humans.�

Consequently, a criminal court in Montpellier slammed him a € 15.000 fine the other day. Within the Socialist party, he was compelled to quit his position in the leadership.

In mid-November last year, he rapped out his grudge against people of color by remarking that the French soccer national team was, unfortunately in his view, predominantly Black, and would very soon become exclusively Black. These utterances called forth protests from the players of the French political establishment. Last Saturday, the National Committee for the Resolution of Conflicts within the French Socialist party unanimously showed him the red card.
Although this socialist of Languedoc-Roussillon is expected to challenge the ruling returned by the disciplinary body – he said the verdict is meaningless.

Frêche, who is a staunch supporter of Socialist party’s presidential candidate Ségolèle Royal, opined that he would keep his office as president of the region Languedoc-Roussillon. He called on his well-wishers and aides not to turn their backs on the Socialist party, but rather to cast their ballots for the Socialist flag bearer come April 2007.

Royal, who on her part has committed some political blunders in her foreign policy dress rehearsal over the last weeks, had called for an exemplary punishment. He has become an albatross around her neck, so she has no alternative but to eschew him.

There is, though, a kernel of truth in the words of Frêche as regards the performance of Black players; they are high-achieving and the best – period.

Which brings us to another, albeit somewhat related matter—the efforts currently put forth by the soccer community in the U.S. to burnish the image of soccer in the States shouldn’t focus on the English player, David Beckham alone. “One swallow doesn’t make a summer,� goes a saying.

U.S. soccer officials had better hire more young African players to spice the game and to render it more lively, attractive and thrilling. If the show on the turf is of high quality, more companies and corporations will line up to sink more funds in the championship. Remember, mazuma is the sinews - videlicet: the linchpin – of soccer.

No doubt, Beckham's presence in U.S. major league with the L.A. Galaxy will benefit that league in terms of media coverage, which is a must today. But the bugbear is that the English soccer player isn’t ubiquitous; he won’t play on many sods at the same time. For example, the presence of German Lothar Matthäus in the U.S. with the New York Metro Stars some years back didn’t give U.S. soccer the fillip needed. 

Frêche´s attitude towards Black players in France boils down to a peeved response of a man whose obdurate prejudices are vanquished by facts.

Victorien Ntep writes for The Black Star News from Frankfurt, Germany.


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