Open Thread: Racism Isn’t Good Sportmanship, Soccer Fans

Jay Smooth, over at Google Plus, shared this screen grab of the trending topics after the USA women’s soccer team lost to Japan’s soccer team:

Trending Topics Post-Game

By the time, I saw it, the offending messages of “Japs” and “Pearl Harbor” had been replaced by “Congrats Japan” – but searches for the terms Jay circled bring up angry and frustrated Twitter users responding to the initial tweets.

Readers, did you notice any game related racism, either on or offline?

  • Gillyrosh

    I figured there might be resentment toward the Japanese team because the media coverage throughout the second half of the tournament was framed as the US women being the favorites and winning the country’s first WC since 1999. Because I was out most of yesterday, I missed seeing the game live (I watched the replay later in the evening). This means I missed the real-time commentary on Twitter and elsewhere in the social media-verse. I’m not surprised at the racist comments directed toward the Japanese team. I have only been following soccer for a year, but I have noticed that it is rife with both covert and overt racism.

  • http://thezombieheadquarters.blogspot.com/ Jadey

    Sociological Images just posted a selection of racist FB comments about people wishing more death and destruction on Japan and/or claiming that they only won because of the tsunami (can’t parse that logic, but okay): http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/07/18/poor-sports-racism-and-jingoism-among-u-s-soccer-fans/ – serious warning on that for soul-churning hatefulness.

    (It’s attributed to US fans exclusively, but I’m not certain that *only* USians would post such things.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25296 Scott Templin

    OK, I’m a huge football (soccer) fan in the US and I saw all kinds of racism and xenophobia all over social media and the interwebs yesterday. It was truly disgusting. A few examples:

    For about 30 minutes immediately following the game the Japanese Women’s National Team Wikipedia Entry (here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_women's_national_football_team#2011_World_Cup ) had the following entry as the final sentence under “2011 World Cup”:”Victory was achieved when the slanty eyed one scored on their fourth attempt.”

    There were also quite a few very nasty comments on the Fox Soccer facebook page. And I find it highly

    ABC News’ Deborah Roberts reported that the Japanese team “came out of nowhere” to surprise everyone. Umm, the Japanese are the #4 ranked team in the world according to FIFA…how does the fourth best team in the world “come out of nowhere??”

    It was truly disgusting…I’m so glad I was rooting against the USA for the entire tourney. 

    • Anonymous

      Meh.  I’m kinda happy for Japan, but the U.S. kept fucking it up the whole game.  Despite Japan’s admirably superhuman perseverance throughout, it was really the U.S.’s game to lose, IMO.  I’m not a big soccer fan, but I appreciate the legacy of the U.S. women’s team, what it means for the ultimate potential for women’s sports in general here, and I wish that the sport was more popular in the U.S.

      That said, it feels like everyone from the people in the stadium there (excepting maybe the U.S. team themselves) in Germany to the U.S. sports media here felt like the U.S. was entitled to the World Cup gold, and somehow, there’s something horribly wrong there that Japan won and we didn’t.  Yeah, U.S. lost, but it’s only an “upset” in terms of the fact that Japan played extremely well and we didn’t really keep up. (I mean, the U.S. players missed *three penalty kicks* — what the fuck is that all about?)  That is all.  No need to get racist, of course, but you can’t stop Americans from being ignorant, going by the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown coverage on Twitter… x.x

  • Heather

    Yenno, often when there is some ridiculous trending topic, it keeps trending because people keep writing things like, “Why is x trending? That’s offensive.”

    • S. Mandisa

      I think its true that a problematic/offensive trending topic continues when people begin calling it out. But lets not pretend that the main reason those were trending is because people felt free to say them….over and over again. Based on my time on twitter (and the people Ive had to unfollow), people tweet something messed up, then people retweet many, many times (stressing of course that they aren’t racist….its just really funny).

      I never go for US teams in international competitions (nor am I a domestic sports fan). During the  Men’s World Cup, I was going for the countries in the global south, especially when they battled their former colonizers.

      I tried to stay off a social media during USA v Japan, but yet the xenophobia and racism STILL managed to come on through. And some of the stuff I saw was just plain hateful…comparing the US’s assumed victory to the earthquake. That is just unacceptable.

      • dersk

        Funny – I usually cheer for the States in the World Cup and Olympics – it’s pretty much the only time it doesn’t feel weird to go all ‘U-S-A’!, if you know what I mean.

        I usually cheer against the Dutch teams, because whenever they win my neighborhood gets trashed – we lost most of the plants outside our apartment building when Ajax won the national title.

        According to the Dutch broadcast I watched, the US was a heavy favorite to win the tournament, and this was the first time Japan had beaten the US in something like 25 matches.