Former national striker Kenwyne Jones believes it is the responsibility of the heads of CONCACAF and FIFA to stop racism in football.
In conjunction with the Equal Opportunities Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, the TTFA held an online forum to discuss racism in sport on Wednesday.
There, former T&T captain Kenwyne Jones. along with current national goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and defender Alvin Jones, commented on the recent experience at last Month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, where they faced racial abuse and death threats from Mexican fans.
Having had a collision which injured Mexican star Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, goalkeeper Phillip was personally subject to the abuse. But having had a long run in the T&T team, and having seen it before, keeper Phillip did his best to ignore it.
For defender Alvin Jones it was harder to ignore. Jones was playing for the first time against Mexico and was particularly targeted for abuse on social media because it was his tackle which propelled Lozano head-long into onrushing keeper Phillip, resulting in the Mexican star being injured.
“My family, my mom, my dad, they were worried with the messages,“ Alvin Jones said. “Death threats, messages saying they were on the way to the hotel, and they know the room number. So, it was very hard mentally for me to stay focused.”
The retired Kenwyne Jones has also had his fair share of racial abuse over the years.
“The events that took place at this Gold Cup are nothing new, unfortunately,” stated Jones, the former English Premier League striker.
“Anyone who has played for Trinidad and Tobago in the CONCACAF competitions and FIFA competitions, it is something we are used to encountering, whether we go to Mexico, whether we go to El Salvador or Guatemala. It is something that been happening for years. It goes beyond the realm of sport; it goes beyond the realm of humanity.”
Jones said his experience of racism in sport is not limited to Central and North America.
“Also, in England as well. I’ve had face to face encounters with people, whether it be players, fans, institutions exerting racism,” he said. “Even being retired for a few years, after that match at the Gold Cup, I was still subjected to abuse as well and I was not playing.”
Jones said black players from the Caribbean are conditioned to ignore these types of attacks. However, he feels that the authorities need to act.
“It is a massive measure of ignorance, But saying that, the authorities, the heads of the different confederations, they need to actually put some meaningful measures in place so that it would at least stop at the scene of the crime, so to speak, and then forward from there with education.”
Jones felt that racism extended indirectly to the Mexican players as well.
“Only because of the threat of the match being abandoned, that is when a couple of them understood what was taking place, he explained, “but other than that, they wanted to get on with the game as per usual, because this is something that continuously happens when they play against particularly, the black Caribbean teams.”
Jones added “you don’t have this problem with Mexico and they, when they play against the other international teams on the world stage.”
SOURCE: T&T Express