On October 16, 1968, during the 200-meter medal ceremony at the Mexico City Olympics, two American sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, lowered their gaze and raised their point to the sky. Two leather-gloved hands that went down in history, because they rose up against racial segregation in the United States.
This dazzling gesture made it possible to enlighten consciences and open the eyes of the whole world to the sad reality of ordinary racism which plagued American society.
Tommie Smith and John Carlos paid dearly, very dearly, for their audacity. Banished from the Olympic village, repudiated by their federation and their country, their career was shattered by their fight. They had no fortune, no billionaire contract, no big club, manager or federation to support them. And yet, they grasped the importance of the moment and understood that their cause was bigger than their sport. It’s called moral courage and as Senator Bob Kennedy pointed out, it’s a rare virtue. Iranian players dared to challenge the Ayatollahs’ regime on Monday, risking serious trouble for themselves and their loved ones.
So, this Wednesday, we would like our Red Devils to dare to challenge the odious and retrograde dictates of Qatar and its new servant, FIFA. Defying the ban on an inclusive armband or a jacket that defends nothing but love (“Love”), the most universal value, would transform our champions into true legends of the sport. The most beautiful yellow card in the history of football, for a just and magnificent cause. And unlike Tommy Smith and John Carlos, our Red Devils are fully supported and do not risk, like the two African-American sprinters, ending their days in misery.