Liverpool’s latest ‘racist’ blunder: misjudged or more fuel for the fire?

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Try as they might, Liverpool just can’t seem to get the monkey off their back. The stigma of the Red’s racist row will follow the club around for the next few years and there’s very little anybody can do about. It means the club’s relations to the black community will be examined and over-analysed over the coming years and though it’s likely to frustrate fans this is a good thing. There can be no racism of any form in football and if it took a massive blunder from a big club to put prejudice back in the spotlight then so be it.

The hope should be that the uproar and outrage amongst fans and the media means this kind of thing never happens again. Liverpool, I’m sure just want to move on and focus on the football. So why oh why did Pepe Reina make the decision to star in that advert?

In an advertisement for a Spanish insurance firm, Reina is exploring a jungle (in his goalkeeper jersey, of course) and comes across a tribe. The tribe’s leader then goes on to intimate some kind of relationship between himself and Reina by quipping “Me King, you Queen”, to which the Spanish goalkeeper raises his eyebrows.

It’s supposed to be light-hearted, it’s supposed to cause a chuckle. Unfortunately it just procures a lingering sense of unease.

Before I continue, I want to make it clear that Liverpool are in no way at fault for the content of this advert. It’s Reina who should shoulder the blame here.

On the face of it this has very little to do with insurance. The advert revolves around the idea of safety. Though Reina is in a perilous position he responds to the threat by claiming “I feel safe, la la la”. Whilst there’s a perfectly decent ad campaign to be had by putting Pepe Reina in increasingly dangerous situations, it’s sad that they had to resort to using outdated stereotypes. It’s little wonder that Operation Black Vote have taken action against the advert.

Simon Woolley, Operation Black Vote’s director had this to say: “I’m shocked on so many levels. Firstly, how would the Spanish feel if the English stereotyped Spanish people as backward, stupid and animalistic homosexuals?”

“Secondly, what does this say about Pepe Reina? The Liverpool goalkeeper has lived and worked in the UK for nearly a decade – does he think it’s OK to characterise black people this way? Does he think his black team-mates will laugh at his joke?”

That for me is the disappointing aspect here. How on earth did Pepe Reina not know to steer clear of this campaign? There have been those who are quick to point out that Reina had no input into the production of the advert. He didn’t brainstorm the idea, he didn’t suggest that the Black characters in the ad were characterised in a certain way. But this is irrelevant. By agreeing to star in the commercial, he effectively endorses the whole ugly, traumatic mess of an ad campaign and should not simply be allowed to ‘get out of jail free’.

Liverpool fans out there in the world have put complaints down to ‘Political Correctness gone mad’. Not only is this a moronic statement, but this shows how bias the Reds are towards their players, and how little perspective they have on the racism issue. How can Liverpool move forward as a club if the fans continue to have a lax attitude? Racism is a sensitive issue and after what has happened with the club a senior player should know better than to get involved with such a bewildering, distasteful ad campaign.

Whilst this has nothing to do with Liverpool per se, he is a Liverpool player and has the club’s reputation to uphold. He needs to put his hands up and admit that the campaign was misjudged.

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  • Phil says:

    You say “I want to make it clear that Liverpool are in no way at fault…”
    Then why the headline “Liverpool’s latest racist blunder”?
    Are you stupid, or just trying to stir it up?

  • Damo says:

    Obviously stupid and trying to stir things up. This ‘story’ broke last weekend. So it has taken Harry a week to get his thoughts together in what passes for his brain and churn out this derivative drivel, missing the point that Reina means ‘queen’ in spanish. It may have been ill-judged, but then so is Harry’s decision to pursue a career in writing…

  • alex says:

    I love how you brand LFC ‘racists’ while refering to Evra as a monkey…

  • collie says:

    Operation Black Vote is a pressure group that supports extremism when it comes from a black face, such as Diane Abbott’s recent comments about white people and “divide and rule”. Neither Suarez nor Reina meant any racism and some people should lose the chips off their shoulders.

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