Zenit Fan Club Landscrona Pull The Old “I’m Not Racist But…”

17 Dec

FC-Zenith-St.PetersburgSadly, they really, really are. Add to that a hefty dose of homophobia and xenophobia to make a potent cocktail of utter fuckery.

FROM REUTERS

ST PETERSBURG, Dec 17 (Reuters) – The largest fan group of Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg have demanded the club refrain from buying black and gay players following turmoil surrounding the acquisition of Brazil striker Hulk.
“We’re not racists but we see the absence of black players at Zenit as an important tradition,” Zenit fan club Landscrona said in a letter, called the “Selection 12 manifesto”, posted on its website (www.landscrona.ru) on Monday.

“It would allow Zenit to maintain the national identity of the club, which is the symbol of St Petersburg.”

Zenit have been the only top club in Russia to have never signed an African player while the northern city of St Petersburg is known to have a strong right-wing nationalist influence.

The fans said they want more home-grown or European players in the team.

“We only want players from other brotherly Slav nations, such as Ukraine and Belarus as well as from the Baltic states and Scandinavia. We have the same mentality and historical and cultural background as these nations,” the letter said.
They also expressed their opposition to having “sexual minorities” in the team and demanded that each player would give “101 percent effort” in every match.

Several prominent black players have turned down lucrative offers from the wealthy club over the past 12 months after receiving death threats from Zenit fans, local media reported.
A Zenit spokesman said on Monday the club would not comment on the fans’ letter.
Former Zenit and Russia striker Alexander Panov said the fans have no right to influence the club’s selection policy.
“If we don’t have enough good players from St Petersburg, then what should the club do?” the St Petersburg native was quoted as saying by local media.

“All clubs around the world have black players. If they are absent from Zenit – it’s Zenit’s problem. I don’t think fans should demand the club buy or don’t buy certain players. The fans have the right to go to the stadium or stay home.”
Zenit have been in turmoil for the past few months with several senior players unhappy after the wealthy club splashed out more than $100 million on Brazilian Hulk and Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel just before the transfer deadline.
Zenit demoted Russia skipper Igor Denisov to the reserve team in September after he refused to play, issuing an ultimatum to renegotiate his contract in line with what Hulk was making.

Denisov was later allowed to rejoin the first team after making an apology. (Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov)

Gross.  Gee, World Cup 2018 is going to be fun, eh? I want to stress that this is one group of supporters and obviously everyone doesn’t feel that way. However, it’s sobering in light of the many problems we saw this summer during the Euros and the racist incidents that were documented over the last year.  I’ve spent time in both Russia and the Ukraine. St. Petersburg is a beautiful city and I’ve met so many wonderful people there, who were warm, open and welcoming. It just breaks my heart to see crap like this being said.  Read more at Queerty, the Globe and Mail and Dirty Tackle.

– Lozil

13 Responses to “Zenit Fan Club Landscrona Pull The Old “I’m Not Racist But…””

  1. black widow December 17, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    “We’re not racists but we see the absence of black players at Zenit as an important tradition”–er, do they not see the complete contradiction between the beginning and end of that sentence? that’s appalling and outrageous.

    the horrible thing is, players of colour and gay (closeted, obviously) players won’t want to play there anyway (and who could blame them?) because of this, so it becomes almost a self-perpetuating cycle and those racist bastards will think they’ve won.

  2. MissLadya December 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Call me jaded, but news like this no longer surprises me in the least. For sure, I oppose discrimination in every form, but this is preaching to the choir. Racism and homophobia in football? You don’t say! How peculiar, given how there’s none of that in the rest of society … Oh, wait.
    The footballing world isn’t becoming any more racist than it already was. Again, that does not make it ACCEPTABLE, but why it’s only become a major talking point now eludes me. You may be slow on the uptake, media, but don’t insult MY intelligence by bombarding me with these “revelations” when I (and anyone with eyes and a functioning brain) long knew of the problem. There have always been racism and homophobia among fans, players and clubs. It wasn’t until the whole Terry racism scandal broke that everyone (mainly the mainstream media) went, “Whaaaaaaaaat, there’s racism in football??” and suddenly it’s considered an epidemic. Now every incident on the pitch is analyzed for any racist undertones. Suddenly the media decides it wants to start caring and I’m suppose to sit up and take notes?

    (Btw, this rather pissy rant isn’t aimed at you, Lozil ^_^)

  3. drea December 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    We’ve all been told that since Europe has never had anything like the Civil Rights movement, we really shouldn’t be surprised. But seriously, what does it take to know that this kind of behavior is just wrong?

    • MissLadya December 18, 2012 at 5:39 am #

      Oh yes, because America is the pinnacle of racial equality …
      Europe never underwent anything like the Civil Rights movement because we weren’t lynching black people and forcing them to use “coloured” entrances and toilets. Sorry, but your comment really offends me, as a black Dutchwoman. That you somehow single this out as a European thing when racism in football is worldwide (just as racism itself is) is incredibly insulting. This letter was written by a small group of people, and the club and players themselves have denounced it, yet you still speak as though this is common practice that we Europeans let slide because we don’t know any better.

      • drea December 18, 2012 at 10:06 am #

        I think you need to calm down. If you’ll read the first part of that sentence, you’ll see “we’ve been told…” This has been the reasoning that has been given in many documentaries. Check youtube, it’s a go-to philosophy whenever this topic is discussed…

        Also, my comment was about the people involved, no? Why would I generalize all of you? Perhaps you misunderstood me, but I’m not so thick as to imply that your entire continent condones this.

        And before you get all racially righteous on me, I’m NOT American. I’m not European. I’m Asian. Oh and yes, I have experienced some racism in both the US and Europe because of the way I look. Like two years ago, in the Hague (so in your neck of the woods) I got chased down by some teenagers taunting me with Chinese sounds because I looked Asian. You can imagine their surprise when I turned around and yelled at them in English. So, you know, maybe you want to consider that there are people from other parts of the globe who have something to say on this.

        • MissLadya December 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

          But that is my point exactly. Racism is worldwide. It happens everywhere; America, Europe, Asia, everywhere, which is why I was taken aback that you aren’t surprised that this attitude is to be found in Europe because we never underwent some form of Civil Rights; as if the rest of the world has progressed and we’re still stuck in the dark ages. What happened to you has happened to me and other minorities in my own country, but I do not consider it a European thing. It’s, unfortunately, a human thing. Having worked in Japan and China, where black people are a rare species that draw open stares and whispers, I was subjected to both malicious and unintended racial abuse, but I do not turn up my nose to all Asians because of my experience. I have never gone, “Well, it’s Asia: what do you expect?”, which is basically what you did say about Europe. I apologize if my comment came over as aggressive, and I certainly wasn’t claiming that my “neck of the woods” (btw, I do not live in Den Haag, so … ) was a racial haven, but you were the one who started by bringing all of Europe into this. What these fans wrote in that letter has nothing to do with outdated human rights in Europe. Every country comes with its own bunch of prejudiced idiots, but they do not represent an entire country, let alone a continent.

          • drea December 18, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

            Ay. Why do you keep saying you?!! I don’t think you’re getting the gist here. So again: They (people who like to talk about this on TV, etc.) like to say that this is an issue caused by the absence of a Civil Rights Movement… so I (this is MY part of the equation) don’t understand why this would be the case because racism and homophobia are just obviously wrong. I AM NOT SAYING IT, THIS IS WHAT I AM BEING TOLD, AND I OBVIOUSLY DO NOT AGREE. Clear?

            Jeez lady, way to twist around 2 sentences. Look, it is unlikely that anyone here would be on the other side of this issue from you, ok? Or are you really just looking for a fight? And the point we are making about these incidents of racism is the same. I’ve experienced mild racism everywhere… the US, Europe, and yes, Asia, but this does not make me paint entire countries, continents, or societies with the same brush. Where are you even getting this stuff when I just said the complete opposite?!?

            Whatever, I’m done. If you want to pick a fight over imaginary things you are reading into other people’s sentences, you’ll have to find someone else.

            • headbandsandheartbreak December 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

              Did anyone read my comment?! Anyone? PLEASE KEEP IT CIVIL. Thank you.

            • MissLadya December 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

              You accuse me of looking for a fight and yet you’re the one getting hysterical and abusing the capslock. At no point was I itching to start an argument.
              I never accused you of being thick, nor did I ever claim the Dutch to be racially righteous. I only brought up the US because in your first comment you brought up the Civil Rights movement, which relates directly to the US–not because I assumed you were American.
              I was just trying to understand your point. So we’re both agreeing on thing. I knew from the start that you, of course, oppose racism, but the mention of Europe threw me off guard and I was just asking for some clarity. Sorry if I was a bit slow on the uptake, but you didn’t have to start yelling (capslock) and getting all snippy.

              • headbandsandheartbreak December 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

                MissLadyA – I have to admit, I got the same tone from your message as drea did. Don’t think it came off as “we’re both on the same side” as you thought it did. And drea, you did get pretty upset. I’m definitely not taking sides here though. However, both of you, as I’ve said before, PLEASE CALM DOWN (and I get to capslock because it’s my blog). This is not the way we approach discussions here. Keep it friendly, please. Thanks.

      • headbandsandheartbreak December 18, 2012 at 10:29 am #

        Okay, everyone needs to take a deep breath and not lash out. Race is a hot button issue and one that we all feel emotionally about. I think it’s important that we have a dialogue about it, but it’s crucial to keep the discourse respectful and civil.

        As an American, I will be the first to point out our shameful history and continuing racial problems. I’m not naive and I know the problem is worldwide. However, as someone who has also lived in Europe and traveled extensively, I’m often surprised at some of the overt and casual racist, sexist and homophobic things I’ve encountered. When I have commented on it, I’ve been scoffed at for being a “PC American” I guess because of what happened in our country, many Americans are hypersensitive when it comes to race, and rightly so. We don’t want to return to a time of widespread intolerance so we try to remain vigilant. I’ve had the same argument leveled at me that drea mentioned. Didn’t make sense to me then. Doesn’t make sense to me now. It’s a bullshit excuse – just like “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” And as drea said “But seriously, what does it take to know that this kind of behavior is just wrong?” Exactly. It’s wrong. Full stop and all the excuses in the world aren’t going to change that.

        Is it wrong to hope that increased media attention will bring worldwide pressure for change? I really hope we can talk about this together in a peaceful way without finger pointing and anger. We’re friends here – a community – so let’s keep that in mind. It’s subject that’s too important not to discuss. We’ve just got to find a way to communicate from a place of respect. xo, Lozil

  4. Tasha December 18, 2012 at 1:11 am #

    O man that’s intense! I guess I’ve always seen racism in soccer but its always been swept under the carpet. I wonder y now only ppl r taking notice of racism becoz there hav always been racist chants etc I’m not saying its acceptable, I’m saying its BEEN happening so y now is it a big deal ?

    I think that 4 maybe a long time there won’t be a gay soccer (to come out). The media would crucify u n that would be the least of ur worries the fans n the players ….. I think homosexuals should be able 2 come out whenever they want 2, without feeling scared or watever n u(they) should be able 2 do that whether ur a soccer player or not.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Young And In Love? Or Just Friends? « Of Headbands and Heartbreak… - December 31, 2012

    […] LGBT community could be devastating. Read more here and here and of course, we already know how Zenit St. Petersburg’s ultras feel about having blacks and gays on their footy […]

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