Good god. Chelsea fans (fans of the football club of that name) are caught on video on the Paris Métro pushing a black man off the train and chanting “we are racist and that’s the way we like it.”
The jaw drops. The eyes bug out. What are they thinking? What is wrong with them? What is it about being a Chelsea fan that requires or enables this? Football is hardly a lily-white sport, happily, so…what??
Police are looking at the video in hopes of identifying the perps.
The footage was obtained by the Guardian, which reported that the incident had happened at Richelieu-Drouot station in the centre of the French capital on Tuesday evening.
British expatriate Paul Nolan, who filmed the incident on his phone, told the BBC it had been an “ugly scene” and “very aggressive”.
In a statement, Chelsea condemned the behaviour as “abhorrent” and said the fans’ actions had “no place in football or society”.
English football’s governing body, the Football Association, said it “fully supports Chelsea’s position in seeking to ban any of the club’s season-ticket holders or members who face criminal action in relation to these abhorrent scenes”.
Sepp Blatter, president of world football’s governing body Fifa, tweetedthat there was “no place for racism in football”.
Lord Ouseley, chairman of Kick It Out, which campaigns against racism in football, said the fact the incident involved an assault on the man was “even more shocking”.
The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) said the overwhelming majority of Chelsea fans would be “disgusted” by the incident.
Perhaps it’s just the aggression of football fandom, channeled into an irrelevant form of aggression outside the stadium.
Paul Canoville – the first black footballer to play for Chelsea – told the BBC he was saddened by what had happened.
“For me as a black player, and other black players, it would hurt, most definitely.
“It is haunting. It wasn’t nice seeing it, hearing it, at all,” he said.
Frank Sinclair, a black footballer who played for Chelsea more than 150 times, said the men in the video had nothing to do with his former club.
“They tend to move from club to club, they drift and they look at an opportunity where they might have got tickets on the black market, decided to go to this game to cause problems,” he said.
“Certainly, they’re not represented by Chelsea Football Club.”
Ah – if that’s right it’s the aggression that comes first, and the match is just a place to put it to work. Like real-life trolls.