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Race and Football

It seems that several Indonesian fans were accused of Racially Abusing members of the Azkals during the 2-2 draw with Indonesia last Tuesday.  Actually they were chanting “Hindi Kayo Pilipino”, which while pretty scummy, isn’t exactly racist.  Misleading headline is misleading.  Good news is, some of those involved have apologized on twitter (probably due to the internet hate brigade) and the local crowd responded well by unfurling a banner that read “SAY NO TO RACISM” then applauded the Indonesian Team.

Now that’s pretty awesome.  FIFA has a hardline stance on Racism in football and they tend to come down hard on any chants/insults that come up during the game. I understand it’s easy to get riled up during sports events, I’m a massive football fan and I smack talk with the best of them; but there’s really no need to stoop so low to bust out the personal insults against players.  At least some of those involved apologized.

What’s sad is that these Indonesian fans aren’t the only one’s who have said things like that.  The Azkals get criticism from their own supporters too.  I’ve seen many tweets, comments, articles bashing the Azkals for their supposed non-pinoyness (I’m looking at you Arnold Clavio).  Yeah they may only be half Pinoy, but that doesn’t mean we should support them any less.  They’re our national team for christs sake.  They’re representing ALL OF US on a national stage and they’re doing WELL.  Crab mentality will kill us all.  Honestly.

“But they aren’t Full Filipino!” people cry out.  Well so what? They’re half Filipino and that makes them 50% more Pinoy than pretty much everyone else in the world. They have roots and family here in the Philippines as well as England/Germany/Holland/Spain/whatever.   Yeah so some of them don’t live here, or some of them just moved here, some of them can’t speak tagalog; but they’re representing their heritage, and they’re proud to do it.  If the Azkals continue to be role models (let’s not let a sexual harassment case against a few players ruin what the rest of the team is doing), continue to succeed, then why can’t we be proud of them? Yes, they’re half foreign, but they’re also half Filipino. And that didn’t stop everyone from cheering on Jessica Sanchez (she’s half Mexican too you know)

Don’t get me wrong, I know this is just a vocal minority and a lot of people are proud of the Azkals, it just really riles me up when the same people that diss the team for some really REALLY shallow reasons.  Haters gonna hate and all that.

What makes someone Filipino?  To me It’s not just their blood, their ethnicity or their ancestry.  These are only portions of what it means to be a Filipino. I think it’s something else entirely. Something that isn’t limited to what nationality your parents are.  It’s how we immerse ourselves in our culture and roots.  It’s how we strive to represent our country in a positive way, both locally and internationally.  It’s how we love our country.

But that’s just me.