“Anti-gypsy bigotry is the last accepted form of racism.” This comment was made by the Diversity Unit at Herefordshire Council. Unfortunately the recent goings on in international rugby shows this to be true.
England player Joe Marler’s ‘gypsy boy’ comment to opposition player Samson Lee should not be underplayed. Let’s be brutal here, if Marler had called someone a nigger, paki or faggott then he would quite rightly have been severely punished. But the mainstream attitude to ant-gypsy racism isn’t given equal importance.
Under the Race Relations Act, gypsies and travellers are recognised as ethnic minorities who have the right to protection from discrimination.
The comment has been written off as ‘banter’ by Samson Lee. An opinion shared by Wales coach Warren Gatland. But the damage has already been done. The comment was heard by millions of people on live TV or replayed on YoutTube. This will only back up the attitude of people who are happy to use offensive terms like ‘pikey’.
Rugby has always sold itself as a full contact sport with respect at its core. Respect for officials and respect for the opposition. Well we’ll remember this nasty incident next time someone tries to claim that rugby has the moral high ground over football.
Six Nation Rugby’s decision not to take any action against Marler has done huge damage, not only to the sport but also to a large section of the community here in Herefordshire and beyond.
Fuck you Joe Marler and Fuck you Six Nationa Rugby.