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Why We Still Need Campaigns Like Rainbow Laces!

Date: 7th December 2018

Copyright – Stonewall.org.uk

This week Scottish football teams up and down the country supported Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign. It’s a sign that football clubs want to make the game more accessible to the LGBT community. 

We also have ‘Show Racism The Red Card’ weeks, when our sides come together to try and highlight that we still have an issue with racism in our game and indeed our society. 

Yet one look at the Rangers twitter feed this week will tell you that some supporters don’t get why we still need to have such campaigns.

The club showed support for the Rainbow Laces initiative by tweeting a picture of a rainbow coloured captain’s armband that would be worn by James Tavernier that night against Aberdeen in their Scottish Premiership clash. 

While quite a lot of the Gers faithful appreciated the message (it got over 1.5k likes), there were a few negative replies. Some thought that the Glasgow club were constantly pushing for diversity and others believe that the club were just following every other club by supporting another clause. 

It’s ironic that their negative messages actually prove why clubs need to take part in such projects.

We don’t have a male footballer come out as being gay within our game, to me that seems odd given the numbers of men that play or have played in our professional leagues. 

So we need to show that our game is accessible for those in the LGBT community. No one group of people own our game and I think it’s great that our teams show support, when some clearly still feel it’s an issue within our grounds. Twitter tells me that they aren’t wrong. 

The same goes for racism. Unfortunately it still occurs within Scottish football. People are still being victimised because of their skin colour, gender and/or their religion. We should not tolerate this or become lax on these issues. 

Celtic’s Scott Sinclair was racially abused during Sunday’s League Cup final. He was previously abused last year, again due to his skin colour. 

Hibs boss Neil Lennon was hit by a coin during the Edinburgh derby earlier this season. The Hibees manager states that he thinks it goes beyond sectarianism:

“You call it sectarianism here in Scotland, I call it racism,” 

These incidents show that we still have problems with a number of football fans regarding their attitudes towards racism. We need to continue to highlight the problems and try and educate those that are wrong and support the victims. 

In Scotland, our biggest ethnic minority comes from Asian countries and yet we have little to no footballers with Asian heritage playing in our top leagues. We need to encourage more people from these backgrounds to take part and treat them as equals from childhood to adulthood. 

Campaigns work.

Just look at the great success that the three women from On The Ball had in getting Celtic to offer free sanitary products to be made available during games. Teams all over the UK have followed suit and On The Ball have done so much great work in trying to end period poverty. This campaign has highlighted a major problem and the football community has embraced the initiative and are now actively helping fans in need. That’s amazing! 

We cannot relax or let victims down. Football should be for everyone and we need to constantly do our bit to show we appreciate fans and players no matter their sex, sexual preference, race or their religious belief! 

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