Mario Balotelli may not have started lighting up the pitch for Liverpool upon his arrival, but the Italian striker seems to integrate into his English life quite quickly. While Balotelli would have a particular dislike for Manchester United through his time with Manchester City, joining United’s other big rivals in Liverpool FC seems to complete the cycle. After Manchester United’s staggering loss to Leicester City, Balotelli took to Twitter…
Man utd … LOL
— Mario Balotelli (@FinallyMario) September 21, 2014
While the typical response seems to be fans reminding the player of Liverpool’s recent slip-up, there were some that decided to comment that descended into the downright nasty.
While fandom is what makes the atmosphere at a stadium great, there is a line that too many seem to step across. If you have ever read my bio at the bottom of my articles, you would know that I support Liverpool when I step outside the confines of journalism. However, I have never allowed my team preference to take away the beauty that comes from every aspect of the beautiful game. No matter the player, no matter the team, and no matter the league…beautiful play is to be enjoyed. Liverpool played terrible against West Ham, and jokes would be merited…and there is nothing that any fan could really say.
However, there is no place in the game for racism. There is no excuse for resorting to that type of reaction. You think that the players and ownership of Manchester United, or any club, want you to defend their “honor” with comments that come from such a terrible place? Of course not! That any fan of the game that I (and countless others) enjoy could resort to one of the lowest forms of ignorance often makes me sick to my stomach. Soccer, at its most basic and purest form, is meant to bring the masses together. Jerseys are traded after matches, players on opposing teams can become friends, nations can discuss a common love, and yet there are those that would think that racism is merited because someone made a joke at the expense of your “team”…?
There is a place above where team allegiance is. There is a plane where every single person on this planet should be given the same rights, opportunities, and treatment. If soccer is the world’s sport, then soccer should be one of the biggest conduits for this type of thinking to flow. Any that may sully it with racism do not deserve soccer. The next time you think about letting your connection with some team take you to such a negative place, realize that you are worse than the bribing with FIFA, worse than diving, worse than any loss your team can suffer…
These clubs do not know your name, they will not pay your rent if you come up short at the end of the month, they will not clothe you and feed you if you lose everything that you have, and the money you spend on their merchandise or the money you spend to sit in the stands does not make you some type of honorary player. Being a fan is fantastic and can be absolutely amazing, but you need to learn the line between fandom and idiocy…too often these days, people seem to lose sight of that. No matter how invincible you feel behind the safety of a Twitter handle or computer screen, stooping to racism is unacceptable.
At the Center Circle, it is our genuine hope that the future of soccer can be free of racism. When enjoying any social media interaction, think twice before you do anything. It is called “the beautiful game”…so let’s attempt to keep it that way.