AFC Bournemouth have condemned the racist comments about midfielder Junior Stanislas. And now the fans have also joined the united front against this discrimination…
AFC Bournemouth have condemned the online racial abuse directed at Junior Stanislas after Saturday’s 1-0 win at Stoke. In a statement posted on the club website, chief executive Neill Blake described the comments as “disgusting” and “completely intolerable”.
“I am astounded that people believe writing and posting these comments is acceptable”, said Blake. “We will be contacting Twitter and the FA for their help in identifying the individual concerned, and will pursue the strongest possible action against them”.
The abuse cast a shadow over what was a fine win for Bournemouth. Stanislas’ 79th-minute goal lifted Bournemouth up to third in the Championship, putting them now only six points behind leaders Norwich City, with a game in hand.
Stanislas himself called the comments ‘disgusting’ in a recent interview. He also described his sadness that such abuse has become a regular occurrence within British football. In the interview, he went on to discuss the impact of racism on his wider life. And the difficulty of explaining the incident to his nine-year-old twins.
FANS CONDEMN “VILE” ABUSE
The abuse drew a strong reaction from fans and fan groups. Proud Cherries, AFC Bournemouth’s official LGBT+ supporters group, Tweeted their support for the club’s response. They stated that there is “no room in football or society for discrimination of any kind. We applaud AFC Bournemouth in calling out this behaviour and making it known that it will not be tolerated. We stand with you Junior Stanislas”.
Other Tweets expressed their support for the Cherries midfielder, with one fan saying: “Here’s to you Junior Stanislas. Bournemouth loves you more than you will know”.
The incident follows a year in which racism in football has come under the microscope across the country. After the death of George Floyd in May 2020 and the subsequent international protests, players began kneeling at the start of games to show solidarity with the victims of racial violence. The move, whilst backed by clubs and the majority of fans, did see some opposition. A White Lives Matter banner flying at Burnley’s match with Manchester City. And Millwall fans faced criticism for booing players taking a knee in a match against Derby in December.
Attempts to address racial disparities in the game at a national level have also seen their share of setbacks. Over 40 clubs signed up for the FA’s flagship Football Leadership Diversity Code. However, the organisation was thrown into turmoil when chairman Greg Clarke was forced to resign in November. This was due to several inappropriate comments he made during a parliamentary committee.
BOURNEMOUTH VOW TO STEP UP FIGHT AGAINST DISCRIMINATION
The abuse directed at Stanislas has made Bournemouth reaffirm their commitment to combating prejudice and discrimination. Primarily through the Everyone Together campaign, which aims to celebrate Bournemouth’s diverse fanbase. It also aims to tackle prejudice and promote understanding. Matchday programs heavily feature the campaign, and the club has released a series of videos highlighting fans from a wide variety of backgrounds. It has received great praise, and even gained the Hampshire FA Equality Champion Award in 2019.
“We are a club that celebrates equality, diversity and inclusion,” said Blake. “This is highlighted by our ‘Everyone Together’ campaign, which tackles prejudice and promotes understanding. We stand firmly with Junior and will continue to work tirelessly to educate and rid the game of all forms of discrimination.”