Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


'That guy has taken dreams away' | The impact of racist language in sport | CURTIS FLEMING

Racist language is more than just the words being said, but an indentured belief that what is being said is okay to be said, and therefore cannot be considered 'unconscious'.

Racist language is more than just the words being said, but an indentured belief that what is being said is okay to be said, and therefore cannot be considered 'unconscious'.

An independent Football Association panel found ex-Crawley Town boss John Yems guilty of racist abuse towards his players and banned him from football for 15 months.

The report published by the disciplinary commission 'accepted Mr Yems is not a conscious racist'. However, the FA has since said that it is now "considering its legal options", disagreeing with the ruling of it's independent panel.

In spite of this, Yems insists that he did not know what he said to his players was wrong, and refused to accept any wrongdoing while on an interview on TalkSport. Instead, the former Crawley boss called for apologies to be made to him.

Former Republic of Ireland footballer Curtis Fleming was shocked by this lack of acceptance of wrongdoing. Speaking on Off The Ball, Fleming disagreed with the concept of 'unconscious racism', insisting that, 'As soon as anything like that comes out of your mouth, it means it's inside you!'

However, one of the positives about the story, according to Fleming, is that it continues the conversation around racism.

"For me, I think the biggest thing that we've done and can do is have discussions like this," Fleming said. "That shows that they are not in line with what everyone else is thinking, inside and outside of the game.

"My heart goes out to somebody who is 22 and gets a chance. Imagine I had gone over to Middlesborough at that time and my first experience would have been having a coach like that.

"Luckily enough for me I hadn't and it gave me a place to flourish, a safe haven away from home and make a dream come true.

"That's what that guy has done. He's taken dreams away from some young lads who is 22 and wants to play at Old Trafford, he wants to play for Ireland.

"For me, that's how deep it runs."

'Are you really ruling that it's not conscious racism?'

For Fleming, there will be important and major ramifications from the report into Yems' comments and their finding that he was 'not a conscious racist'.

"What this has done is, yes, we don't agree with the ruling, but we've opened it up," Fleming said. "We've put it into the public forum.

"No we're saying to [the FA Commission], 'Are you sure? Are you really? Are you in line with the way society in which football is? Are you really ruling that it's not conscious?'

"I know that I wouldn't walk out onto the street and say any of the things he's said. I think there will be major repercussions from this."

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