With news that Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou has been pulled from the Olympics because of a racist joke on Twitter, I can’t help but think back to how the FA, Liverpool and Chelsea handled the issue of racism when it erupted last season.
The female triple jumper tweeted “With so many Africans in Greece…at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home-made food”. Now compare that to what other players have said or tweeted and it looks very tame but the Greek officials have taken the stance that any racist remarks is simply unacceptable.
Papachristou apologized on twitter saying “I apologise if I insulted people,” adding in response to her allegiance to the far right Golden Dawn Party “I have no mingling with politics. I am only an athlete.” Saying that it was “unfortunate and tasteless joke”
A statement was released stating that there was no alternative but to withdraw the athlete and that racist remarks are not, in any way, acceptable.
“Racist humour and ‘jokes’ concerning human lives are not tolerated by the Greek society and cannot thrive in Greek athletics,”
“The least the Greek Olympic Committee can do now is to revoke Voula Papachristou from the Olympic Games. Watching the Olympics on TV screen, she could do as many vile ‘jokes’ she wants through the social media. But for sure, she cannot represent Greece in London.”
Now this may be more politics than ethics but it sends a clear message that racism will not be tolerated in any shape or form. It would be nice that the FA do the same, but that would also mean Rio Ferdinand would have to face action also.