Paris Brown: sending up a gimmick?

April 10, 2013 in Blog, Gus in the Media, Print

On 8 April 2013 the Evening standard carried a story about Paris Brown who having been appointed as a youth police commissioner by Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Ann Barnes, one week earlier at a cost to the taxpayer of £15,000 a year was found have posted homophobic and racist tweets prior to her appointment. The Evening Standard asked me for a comment. This is what I wrote on April 8.

Print screen from Evening Standard (

Print screen from Evening Standard (

If Paris Brown had wilfully set out to send up the peculiar notion of a paid ‘youth crime commissioner’, she could not have done it better. Her mother protests that Paris has 14 GCSEs and should be allowed to get on with her life having apologised for her abusive language on Twitter, language which itself borders on hate crime. The fact that she published those deeply offensive remarks before she was appointed to this dubious post is all the more reason why she should be stripped of it.

With 14 GCSEs, she is surely bright enough to know that those former boasts about her loutish and bigoted behaviour constitutes skeletons in her cupboard that give off a stench in which the police ought to have a forensic interest. Even if those appointing her did not probe her Twitter account, she should therefore have revealed her homophobic and racist conduct to them. If she did and was appointed nevertheless, then those who appointed her must have wanted to demonstrate that it is precisely young people with her tendencies they want as ‘advisers’ on youth crime. Proof indeed that her ill-conceived post begs too many questions that have not even been posed. Read the rest of this entry →

Government taking a back seat in racism battle

February 16, 2013 in Blog, Gus in the Media, Television

On February 12, professor Gus John visited Sky News’ studios for an interview where  he accused the coalition government of taking a back seat in the fight against racism in football. The following article was published on the Sky Sports website and contains excerpts from his contribution. 

Article published by Sky Sports

Article published by Sky Sports (Click here to enter their website)

Race relations advisor Professor Gus John says the government should take the lead in attempts to eradicate racism from football.

Sky Sports News sent their Special Report team to a number of football grounds around the country where several incidents of vile chanting were recorded.

The worst of those incidents was at The Den, where Leeds striker El-Hadji Diouf was subjected to 56 separate incidents of abuse.

Professor John commended Sky Sports News for uncovering the footage but said that the onus was on individual clubs to monitor what went on in their stadium.

And John insists that a strong message from the government would help gives clubs the power and inclination needed to police their grounds.

Read the rest of this entry →

Three Cheers for Kevin-Prince Boateng

January 6, 2013 in Blog

AC Milan’s friendly match against fourth-tier side Pro Patria was abandoned less than half way into the game when midfielder Boateng took off his short and walked off the pitch in protest against racist chants from Pro Patria fans.

Although Pro Patria’s Dario Alberto Polverini attempted to talk to Boateng as he left the pitch (see video below), Boateng was having none of it. To their credit, the other Milan players and officials followed him off the pitch. Other fans remonstrated against those who had indulged in the racist chanting against Boateng, Mbaye Niang, Urby Emanuelson and Sulley Muntari.


Boateng’s courageous action brings that bit closer the day when black players take similar action against racist abuse by fans, other players or referees during a premier league, champions league or other competitive match. Whether Boateng would have taken similar action during one such match is beside the point. The fact is that he was justified in making that protest in this instance. It was the first time that an entire team supported a black player against racist abuse by walking off the pitch with him. Read the rest of this entry →

Black football players: victims or or protagonists?

December 22, 2012 in Blog

"Chelsea vs Manchester City : 2" by Crystian Cruz (Flickr - CC BY-ND 2.0)

“Chelsea vs Manchester City : 2″ by Crystian Cruz (Flickr – CC BY-ND 2.0)

What is it about football as a sport that makes it so difficult for those who control and regulate it to even conceive that black players could exercise their right to self-organisation and self-defence against the racism they suffer?

It will soon be 20 years since Herman Ouseley kick started the Kick Racism Out of Football campaign.  Yet, an unprecedented number of racist incidents involving players, a referee and fans during 2012 have led Lord Ouseley to threaten to resign as Chair of Kick It Out (which Kick Racism… became in 1997).

In a speech in London last week, he lamented the fact that English football has become complacent about race. He is quoted as saying: “I believe there has been a collective failure on the part of people running the game” (Mihir Bose, Evening Standard, 11 December 2012).

Since 2001, Kick It Out (KIO) as a campaigning anti-discrimination organization has held a week of action annually. Read the rest of this entry →

The state we’re in 10 years after the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry

April 21, 2009 in Blog

In February 1999 Sir William Macpherson reported to the then Home Secretary, Jack Straw, on the inquiry he led into matters arising from the murder of Stephen Lawrence almost six years earlier.  The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report, as Macpherson preferred us to call it, was widely seen as a watershed in race relations in Britain.

That was mainly because government, the media and the chattering classes had not been listening to the evidence and to the shrill demands of generations of black people regarding police abuse of their powers, the racism in British policing that was systemic and not just the aberrations of the few ‘rotten apples’ that, so we are told, are to be found in every police force as in other institutions in society; racism that led to preconceived ideas about black witnesses and to the deeply flawed operational decisions that flowed from them. Read the rest of this entry →