Scottish sports producer ‘cries’ after racist abuse at Ibrox and Rangers pub

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A sports producer and Rangers fan says he will not let racists win after being subjected to discriminatory abuse twice within hours during and after attending an Ibrox match.

Bobby Nwanze, 32, went to cheer on the Gers in their Scottish Cup tie with Stirling Albion on Friday 21 January but was forced to leave after being abused by a teammate in the stands.

To make matters worse, he was then subjected to more racist comments at a Rangers bar where he stopped to watch the rest of the game.

Edinburgh Live reports that the saga upset the independent sports producer to the point that he was left crying in the car on the way home to Edinburgh.

Bobby has produced sports content for the BBC.
Bobby has produced sports content for the BBC.

He said: “I identify with the Rangers team. In the past, the team wasn’t too diverse, but when you look at the team now, that has completely changed.

“Captain Tavernier is black, as are Bassey, Balogun, Aribo, Morelos, Sakala, Bacuna and Kamara. So for me I identify with them.

“To be honest, I’m often afraid to go to any live football match because I’m worried about racism happening there.

“But my friends Abie, John and I decided to go through the Scottish Cup tie because we thought it would be a nice family atmosphere as it would be the fourth round of the cup.

“Around 25 minutes into the game, I’m talking about football with the fans around me, having a good time.

“Then I see an older man waving his arms at me, he looks at me and says ‘I can’t understand a word you’re saying, are you speaking English?’

“I turned to my friends and asked if he had just said what he thought he had said. After that, I felt sick and my mood completely deteriorated. My friends said to try to ignore it, but I couldn’t.”

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Upset by the abuse, Bobby and his friends left Ibrox and walked to a supporters’ bar around the corner from the stadium to watch the second half of the match.

which Rangers won 4-0

.

However, shortly after arriving, Bobby claims he was subjected to racist abuse again, with punters calling him the name of Gers striker Fashion Sakala.

He continued: “When we walked in it was like everyone had stopped to look at me walking towards the bar, it was weird.

“We ordered some drinks and took ourselves to a quiet corner to watch the rest of the game. That’s when a middle-aged man approached me.

The freelance sports journalist said he couldn't stay at Ibrox for the second half
The freelance sports journalist said he couldn’t stay at Ibrox for the second half

“He said, ‘You’re black, what does Fashion Sakala mean?’

“My friend asked him what he said and when I repeated it they were absolutely shocked. Then he continued to call me Fashion Sakala, even though I asked him to leave me alone to watch the game.

Fans often sing a chant about Sakala to Shakira’s tune Waka Waka, and they tormented Bobby with the song as he and his friends tried to watch the game.

“I was sitting with a group of 20-30 mates and they all started singing the Fashion Sakala song to me,” he continued.

“I don’t mind jokes, but my career is not a joke for other people’s amusement.

“The guy then sat next to me again and started touching my arms as he said, ‘You’re a big boy, hey, you’re always big.’

“He continued to pick on me before it got harsh and told me to leave me alone. At that time he told me that he shouldn’t be there.

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“Before we finished our drinks and left, the guy walked up to his friends and started acting aggressive.

“During the ten minutes that this went on, everyone in the bar was looking at me and not at the game.

“I burst into tears when we got back to the car.”

Bobby, who has produced sports reporting for the BBC and filmed reports on lower league football, said he wanted to stay and watch the rest of the game at Ibrox but would not tolerate being racially harassed.

He added: “My friends say this shouldn’t happen, but I hope [now] see why I don’t go to football games and why I prefer to watch the games on television, or why I am so selective about the games I go to.

Rangers fan Bobby says football is no place for racism
Rangers fan Bobby says football is no place for racism

“Every time I go to a soccer game I look forward to it. My wife, who is also mestizo like our son.

“Imagine I went with my son? People took their children, it was an affordable game. Imagine explaining to my son why we’re leaving the ground. That’s what makes me sad.

“People have told me that it was fine, I was the biggest person in the bar, but the truth is that I have to be smart.

Bobby believes that anti-racism education needs to be stronger and that parents and grandparents have a responsibility not to pass on racist stereotypes to their children.

He said: “The problem is that the new generation is learning from the old. My son goes to kindergarten and mixes with all demographics with no problem, but when he gets to primary and secondary school it might be different.”

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“And where do children learn that kind of behavior? The older generation.

“We need to take the punishment of racial abuse seriously. The ignorance is unbelievable right now and the fact that it took until last year to see the first jail sentence for racial abuse at a football game says it all.

Bobby with his uncle, human rights activist and scientist Sir Geoff Palmer
Bobby with his uncle, human rights activist and scientist Sir Geoff Palmer

“I hope I can break the mold by becoming a full-time sports producer, so other people can see me succeed and it doesn’t look like just a box-ticking exercise.”

Bobby currently works as a property assistant at Edinburgh City Council, but hopes to secure a full-time career in sports production in the near future.

He is chair of the Edinburgh City Council BAME network and a diversity ambassador for Edinburgh South in the capital.

He is also a ‘Construction Built Environment’ student at Heriot Watt University, where his uncle Sir Geoff Palmer became the first black professor in Scotland.

Rangers have rejected racism with their “Everyone, Everyone” campaign, which challenges fans to be “ambassadors” for the club by being “respectful, tolerant and inclusive”.

The club says of the movement: “Our Everybody, Anybody campaign represents our core values ​​and sends a clear message of inclusion, togetherness and zero tolerance for all forms of discrimination, on and off the pitch.

“We believe it is the responsibility of everyone associated with the club – fans, players, staff and the wider community – to help create a positive environment where our differences are celebrated, our shared bond is our love for Rangers and no one is left out. “

The Daily Record has contacted the supporter bar in question for comment and said they are investigating the claims.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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