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football ‘gone’ mad…

football ‘gone’ mad…


I’m  Caroline Griffiths. 


I identify as a white female & I can't score penalties. I am pretty sure that has nothing to do with my skin colour.

I asked a colleague once why he was so quiet in meetings.. he said,  “It is better that people think you are an idiot, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!”

for all those who have made racist slurs on the back of a missed penalty, under the pressure of millions watching, on a global stage, congratulations, you managed to remove all doubt!

When I help organisations with people strategies, culture change and people development, I meet the organisation, the sponsors and delegates on my program at their starting point.   

We tussle out some deep rooted issues, tackle  the myths and reframe their thinking.   It is a fair, well established and results driven approach and seems to have genuinely made a difference. 

If the people who knew you didn't silently condone your racism.. what might the implications be?

Saying that, that is a little like the police saying that all of their work tackling crime is creating reform and then taking a snapshot of the violence and aggression post match leaving officers injured and no doubt feeling like reform is a never ending battle.  

if your response to a disappointing end was to fail to look at the match objectively and instead default to primitive behaviours, tweets, associations or verbalisation of racist abuse please stop, pause and reflect on what the root cause of that is because racism put simply, is not rational, whilst many use a variety of misunderstandings, reference points and contexts to rationalise it. Football being tribal is one of them BUT last night even that barbaric excuse is not real because the England fans brutally attacked their own players. The same players that had taken the fans to the land not seen in 55 years.

 If you need to blame someone and can’t find the rationale, please do go along let 60,000 people scream at you or your 19 year old son, nephew or brother as he is trying to focus to score the goal that turns you from hero to zero or zero to hero and then pick the one thing that made no difference (your colour) and batter them for it.  

Rashford said criticise my game but I will never apologise for who he is.  A sentence that simply should never be heard. 

So you blame it who they are not the skill or the pressure of the game. 

Assume you are perfect in your ignorance, assume you are right and become consumed by your own anger and hatred and then wake up again, and again in the cold light of day realising how foolish your thought that led to that one tweet, action or belief did to cause pain to another human. 

if today, the people who knew you didn’t silently condone your behaviour..

If you lost your job because your organisation had zero tolerance of racism. 

If you mother was disappointed or your girlfriend left you ashamed of your behaviour.  

How long would that feel fair enough for? 

What about in 30 years times when people are still talking about it and it is costing you jobs, or non whites refused to treat your medically or educate your children, or save their lives.. at what point would it feel outside of your control and not fair?


Imagine you had done nothing wrong, instead campaigned to feed children (maybe your own) or been a voice for youth football, or campaigned for local charities.  Imagine you had woken up early in a country where you faced hostility every day and yet you kept getting up and at some point were able to play for your country and were so terrified of not delivering you forgot to focus, or manage your state and you fluffed your penalty.  imagine going to bed last night thanking god, that at least your manager hugged you and the media were going to be kind BUT instead of worrying about waking up to the mocking of the opposition – (well done Italy) you woke up to your own teams fans railing abuse at you.  You cant just say, “I am sorry, I made a mistake”, you have not made a mistake.. you have simply woken up in the colour of your own skin the next day.. housing aches and pains from a physically gruelling tournament to find it blamed, YOU blamed and everyone like you blamed for getting England back on the European stage, and with renewed hope for the World Cup in your own country.  

And even if you hadn’t done any good but simply played the beautiful game.

Racism? Are you serious?

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