I’m not an expert on soccer, and I’m certainly no authority on civil rights, but if I’ve learned one thing from being on the Internet for 15 years, it’s that anything prefaced with, “I’m not racist, but,” is about to get really racist.
Case in point: A supporters group for Russian Premier League team FC Zenit St. Petersburg have responded to the signing of Brazilian striker ‘Hulk’ with a carefully-worded thing about how people with brown skin hurt their national identity. If that sounds shifty to you, don’t worry: they aren’t racists. They say so right at the beginning!
“We’re not racists but we see the absence of black players at Zenit as an important tradition,” Zenit fan club Landscrona said in a letter, called the “Selection 12 manifesto”, posted on its website (www.landscrona.ru) on Monday.
“It would allow Zenit to maintain the national identity of the club, which is the symbol of St Petersburg.” [...]
“We only want players from other brotherly Slav nations, such as Ukraine and Belarus as well as from the Baltic states and Scandinavia. We have the same mentality and historical and cultural background as these nations,” the letter said.
I’m pretty sure a team’s fans issuing weird statements like this does more to hurt your national identity than a guy having slightly darker skin than his teammates, but what do I know?
As an added bonus, the group made sure to (randomly) include a little aside at the end about how gay people don’t try hard enough to get good at soccer. I’m not sure whether they hurt or help the symbolized national identity of St. Pete. This is also the biggest “everyone in soccer is gay” lay-up joke in Internet history, if you enjoy those.