I Believe Glen Kamara

On Thursday Night, Slavia Prague defeated Rangers at Ibrox as they sent the Scottish Premiership side out of the Europa League.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and the Gers fans openly admit that the Czech team were the better outfit over two legs.

But the defining moment of the heated fixture happened as it headed towards the closing stages.

As players from both teams came together to argue about this and that; Slavia defender Ondřej Kúdela strolls over, with intent, towards Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara.  Kúdela then puts his hand over his mouth and rather aggressively says something which receives an instant reaction from Kamara. The defender quickly creates distance between himself and Glen, heading to get behind the referee, Kamara and teammate Bogani Zuniga seem shocked and angered as they try and charge at the Slavia Prague player.

After the game Rangers boss Gerrard stated his player was racially abused by his opponent:

Slavia Prague and Ondřej Kúdela both denied that that Glen was racially abused with the club issuing a statement (Source Slavia.cz).

In that statement the Czech international centre-back says he said ‘You fucking guy’ to Glen.

Now I’ve watched Glen Kamara since he arrived in Scotland back in 2017. Throughout his time in Scotland’s top flight I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more relaxed and collected player. If anything at times he seems too laid back.

He has played in big European encounters and won and lost fierce fixtures against Celtic. Not at any point have I noticed him being part of any flash point situation. He doesn’t become aggressive and he doesn’t moan.

His reaction to Kúdela’s exchange was not the norm for the Finland international. You can see in his eyes that he is deeply shocked by what he’s just heard. Below is a picture of Kamara with his manager after the game, that doesn’t look like a man that’s just heard the quite abnormal phrase ‘You fucking guy’.

To me, I look at the line ‘You fucking guy’ and I think back to when I was at school and a teacher overheard me calling a female friend a ‘bitch’. I was to see the teacher at the end of class and had by then concocted with my female friend that I had called her a witch. The teacher laughed in my face.

The ‘You fucking guy’ part is, in my opinion, coming from a player that has panicked and needed to come up with an excuse for deliberately making his way to a black player and saying something he shouldn’t have.

Throughout yesterday Slavia fans were on the defensive on social media. A group of them would responded to any negative comment about their team or player with a co-ordinated response.

They would copy and paste club statements, they would say their players were physically assaulted, that their club and players aren’t racist and that there was no proof that anything racist was said. They also proudly sent over videos showing Ondřej Kúdela celebrating with a black teammate as if that were proof he could never be racist.

It’s not an unusual response to be fair. Tribalism occurs during situations in which a group find it impossible to see any wrongdoing from an individual or an institution that they love and respect. The same happens when anything negative is said about film stars, directors and singers. There’s no give, for them Ondřej is 100% not racist.

Last night, Glen Kamara responded with his own statement via his lawyer:

The Finnish star states that the Czech defender said ‘You’re a fucking monkey, you know you are”. That sounds like a more natural line that fits the pictures compared to ‘You fucking guy’.

It is time for UEFA to show that they really are respectful of black footballers and not to brush this incident under their bulging carpet.

Slavia and their fans say that they aren’t racist and are an inclusive club. But some of their recent history will go against that narrative.

Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku called for UEFA to do something about Slavia and their fans after he suffered from racial abuse in Prague:

“UEFA now has to do something about it, because things like this in stadiums is not right. It happened twice with me and that is not right with people.

“I hope that UEFA now do something about it, because the whole stadium did it when Lautaro (Martinez) scored the first goal, and that’s not good for the people watching this game.”

Source Sky Sports

Now what was the reaction of Slavia’s hierarchy?

They apologised for individuals who racially abused Lukaku but then demanded an apology from the Belgian striker for saying it was the whole stadium. That takes some big balls to deflect away from your responsibilities and to instead ask for the victim to apologise.

In 2019, Slavia were also ordered to shut a stand in their stadium due to racist chanting.

Even in the aftermath their fans have targeted two Gers back players. They sent banana emojis to Kemar Roofe and then last night a group of their supporters posted a picture on Instagram with them standing behind a racist banner directed towards Kamara (In which they then tagged him into the post).

I am sorry this doesn’t show me a club that distances itself enough from racism.

People, and possibly, UEFA will demand evidence that Kamara was abused.

Well why do we insist on the victims to prove what happened to them?

Why can’t we ask Kúdela to prove he didn’t say anything racist? It was he who initiated the confrontation, it was he who decided to cover his mouth and he also decided to runaway after the fact. Funny that his two black teammates that were in earshot didn’t seem in a hurry to defend their teammate against the backlash that ensued.

Others will say that the defender was then physically assaulted by Kamara in the Ibrox tunnel. Slavia have insisted that they have now made a complaint to the Police Scotland. That means we can put that to one side and let that be handled legally by the police and in court if needs be.

It can’t be used a deflection tactic against the alleged racial slur that happened earlier. Lots of those that are accused of something will counter accuse or sue and hope to murky the waters regarding the initial complaint.

I think it speaks volumes that Celtic put rivalry to one side yesterday and tweet a message that supported those that suffered from racial abuse:

I’d love it if the two Glasgow clubs could come together this weekend before their fixture and have a photo with the two teams standing together with the message that they’re both standing against racism. It would show the footballing world that we really need to stamp out this issue (This was actually a fine suggestion from @GlaschuEoghann on twitter).

Having watched the pictures and knowing Glen Kamara the footballer, I have to say I believe his version of events. I know UEFA usually hide away from these situations but the world is watching and they need to do better in fighting against racism.

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