Image Source: CNN
Jude Bellingham, an 18-year-old football star from Borussia Dortmund, sat down in an interview, told stories, and shared his thoughts on racial abuse of Black players as it continues to be an issue in the 21st century.
“After (the) majority of games I’ll get a racist message in my Instagram inbox.”
“The first couple of times I remember putting on my story and I received quite a good reaction in terms of people saying that they’re with me.” Bellingham says he is glad that many sympathize with him.
“There’s not a single job in the world where you deserve to be criticized with racism,” he adds. “I’ll never forget, that was the first time I properly got a batch of messages.”
The sport’s governing body is inconsistent, says Bellingham, especially with how it treats incidents that involve Black footballers.
Last December, the young football star was fined $45 thousand by Germany’s Football Association for his comments to a referee. His act was described by the committee as “unsportsmanlike behavior.”
“The club were quick to send someone to message me and make sure I was alright and I really appreciate that. Had teammates that messaged me, of course, family members.”
“I didn’t really receive anything from the DFB or FA or anything like that. And I always kind of compare it to when I said the thing about the referee in December.
“They were very quick to get into contact to give me my fine, give me my punishment, kind of make it a big drama in the media.
“I’ve learned from that. I know what I can and can’t say. I know that, you know, sometimes I have to control my emotion better,” he said in the interview.
“But, you know, when you give that more energy than the situation that I was, I felt like I was going through … maybe we are alone and maybe they’re not interested, maybe they don’t care. And maybe it is down to me and down to us to work independently to get our message out.”
FIFA has told players that they do not take racism lightly. Penalties of violating the rules under the FIFA Disciplinary Code could face varied punishments, including suspension, fines, points deduction, forfeiture, expulsion from a tournament, relegation to a lower division, among others.
His family is his inspiration and ally
Bellingham goes back to his roots and emphasizes the roles his parents played in his upbringing and positive outlook despite issues that may arise inside the field.
“I speak a lot about my parents and the people that have kind of brought me up in football and not just in football, but in life as well,” he said.
“My mom, my dad are two huge role models of mine because of the way they’ve obviously carried themselves, the things that they’ve had to face in their own journeys.”
“She’s always given me a lot of lessons on how I’ll be perceived by other people sometimes because of the color of my skin, sometimes the way that we’re kind of stereotyped.”
“I think for her to do a lot of the stuff that she’s done just to make sure me and my brother never have to want for anything,” he added. “I can’t put into words how much it means to me.
“I’ve got a Black woman that I live with every day and I see the way she carries herself,” he adds. “My mom is certainly one of my heroes off the pitch, if not the biggest one.”