World Cup, Reconciliation, and Monkeys

Four years ago, I posted this about the World Cup:

Here we are on the heels of the World Cup (2006) and already there are a lot of grown folks calling dark-skinned soccer players monkeys. These “offensive” players are being pelted with peanuts and bananas, slapped, hit, and spit upon. In the name of gaining a sporting advantage (supposedly). One player, Oguchi Onyewu who plays for the Belgian soccer club Standard Lige has been harassed and physically attacked more than once. He and several other African and black American players have been called the M word. But to them it just “goes with the territory”, as black U.S. team player DeMarcus Beasley put it.*

So if you play soccer in Europe and you’re dark-skinned be expected to be called a monkey. In a way, I understand it. On the surface, soccer is life to many Europeans. Itís business. Big business. But there’s also the hate factor too. Hate thatís too familiar to Americans. The type of hate that canít be legislated away. Hate that just goes underground … read the rest

*Source: USA Today

With South African hosting the FIFA World Cup this year, it seems that things are way different this time around. From GlobalNewsBeat.com:

While apartheid’s demise in 1994 led to little immediate change among fans ó whites still tend to favour rugby and cricket, while soccer remains a largely black sport ó the almost tribal lines dividing sports are fading.

Whites have come out in support of South Africa’s national team, nicknamed Bafana Bafana, and with the team’s early exit from the World Cup, black and white fans alike don their bright yellow jerseys to see the 16 surviving teams.

Bars and pubs, once the haunts of either a black or a white crowd, now are brimming with both.

Let’s pray this lasts far beyond the last goal. God bless South Africa. God bless the world.