Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman may have helped change the game for France when he was subbed on by Didier Deschamps in the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup Final, but that didn’t stop a torrent of hate from flooding his way after their eventual defeat to Argentina on penalties. And now the French Football Federation is pursuing legal action:
The French Football Federation (FFF) has decided to take legal action against the authors of the racist insults aimed at the likes of Kingsley Coman, Randal Kolo Muani and Aurélien Tchouaméni on social media after the World Cup final [@lequipe] pic.twitter.com/a92yaWtR8R— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) December 20, 2022
Coman was among a number of Black players who were the target of racist abuse — as was the case after England lost the EURO Final to Italy last summer. Arsenal FC’s Bukayo Saka, as well as Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, made for common targets — and the result, for at least one English man, was a stint in jail.
Those determined to excise the racial dimension from our understanding of society will point out that other players frequently get abuse, too — but while that’s also bad, there’s no denying the common and clearly articulated experiences of Black athletes. It’s valuable both for individuals with high platforms and for footballing organizations to take a stand against this and reaffirm anti-racist values — and it’s one of the reasons English players took a knee at the Men’s World Cup this year.
The bottom line is that sporting success shouldn’t be what’s required to defuse the nonsense. With this action, France is showing that anonymous online racist abuse is no laughing matter.