Newcastle player Emre Belezoglu has been accused and will have to answer charges of racism, according to a BBC report.
Now this is bloody serious. I'm not sure if any other player in England has ever actually been charged with this sort of conduct. I have no idea if Emre is guilty but the way it has been reported in the last week or so it doesn't look good for the former Galatasaray player.
It seems as if three Everton players "reacted furiously", according to the BBC, after Emre said something or other to them during a match on December 30.
The case was referred to the FA and they have decided to charge Emre with "using racially-aggravated abusive and/or insulting words".
As I said, this is bloody serious.
A couple of days ago Emre's agent, Ahmet Bulut, or actually it could have been Emre himself (this blog tries not to check its sources too carefully), came up with probably the most stupid defences I have yet to hear. He (Ahmet or Emre) said something like, "Emre knows English but his English is not good enough to make a racist remark".
Bullshit. Racism and racist remarks are bloody easy to learn.
My point though, and for this I might get some shit, is that in Turkey I don't believe racism is properly understood, and not just not understood but is very clear in some ways. A few years ago Kevin Campbell left Trabzonspor after being called a "yamyam" (cannibal) by his own chairman. Campbell, quite rightly, told Trabzon he would never play for them again. He walked out, never to return. The Trabzon chairman, whose name escapes me at the moment, was amazed at what happened. The English press had a field day saying Trabzon was full of racists.
The Turkish press, being as stupid as they always are, retaliated by saying that Campbell had thrown his toys out of the pram. At no stage was there any debate about how calling a black man a "yamyam" could in any way be racist.
I'm not sure why but Trabzonspor did not try and take Campbell to court for breaching his contract. (for those members of the Turkish press who read this please note this an example of irony - or is it sarcasm ... I never really understood the difference...)
Okay, long story short. Emre has grown up in Turkey. In this country there is no hassle, and certainly no retribution for calling a black person a cannibal. Was Emre just following the Trabzonspor example?
Whatever. We don't yet know all the facts from what happened in the Newcastle - Everton match, and I truly hope that Emre has been totally misunderstood. But if he did make a racist remark then I hope they throw the book at him.
EDIT (very late on Friday night, Saturday morning actually): Actually I reckon I agree with some person who left a comment on the Milliyet website (some 73 comments left there so far). "It is clear and obvious. Emre isn't a racist, just uncultured and uneducated"