The Beautiful Game gets ugly as racism rears its head.

How Racism is Stalking US Youth Soccer 

Players as young as eight-years old in Idaho’s Junior Football Club teams have to face the reality of racist abuse whenever they step onto the field. Jeromy Tarkon, a coach for a youth soccer team in Boise, found an anonymous poison letter wrapped in plastic on his car’s windshield in January. It stated that it was thanks to liberals like him that nigers [sic] and wetbacks were overrunning the state.

The vile missive went on to say that one of Tarkon’s players, a young black footballer, has made the field unclean just by stepping onto it, and warned Tarkon to avoid upsetting the wrong parent or families in the future.

Tarkon Will Not Tolerate It

Tarkon is a caucasian military veteran, and stated that he would have been more than happy to accept a personal attack, but racial abuse of the eight- and nine-year old children on his team was more than he was willing to take.

Tarkon’s assistant coaches all hail from immigrant backgrounds, as, many will argue, do the majority of the finest players in the world. One look at the FIFA World Cup Betting markets will quickly confirm this fact. After speaking with his staff about what had happened, Tarkon decided to make the letter public on his team’s Facebook page.

This Isn’t the First Time

Parents have hurled insults at the little kids on Tarkon’s team in the past, with free use of the N-word being made on more than one occasion, but the coach didn’t think they were worth reporting to the Idaho Youth Soccer Association. He felt that his players could show their worth by playing well, and, if the incident was bad enough, that he and his staff would be able to work it out with the club the offending party belonged to.

Being Proactive is the Way Forward

Tarkon wondered if he had perhaps not been proactive enough, stating that he had avoided confrontations in the hope of not upsetting people more than they already were. Apparently many Idaho parents and coaches were unhappy about the youth soccer players’ success. The club is run free for its players and their families, but this kind of ugliness is also becoming more widespread across the whole country these days.

An Explosion of Racist Incidents

Racist incidents and similar crimes being reported in the United States of America tripled in number between 2015 and 2016, from 11 to 31, according to The Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports, and then grew another third between 2016 and 2017, from 31 to 41.

There is a long and depressing list of abuse that occurs off of the field as well, from LeBron James’ house being defaced by racist graffiti to the high school footballers who dressed up in Ku Klux Klan hoods and assembled alongside a burning cross. The sad truth is that the kind of racial abuse that may have once been seen as shameful is now being aired on all platforms, emboldening bigots and allowing adults to take pride in hurling abuse at little kids trying to play some football.

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