READ THE REID: Racism and sport very much in the news at present

READ THE REID: Racism and sport very much in the news at present

The GAA club leagues and championships are up and running after a lengthy break due the countrywide lockdown. Off the field, much has been happening directly or indirectly involving the GAA.

Croke Park will host the Muslim ‘Festival of Sacrifice’ on its hallowed turf – once a symbol of Irish nationalism where 14 people were killed by the Black and Tans in 1920. The coronavirus is still killing people, the country is half open and debate rages about masks or no masks. Strict protocols are in place for all club games.

The Black Lives Matter movement has hijacked the ‘race’ issue that is also prevalent in GAA activities. Catholic Churches are being burned and Catholic statues and property are being vandalised in America. While sport should be solely about sport, the reality is something very different.

Political statements in sport are all too common in modern times, be it poppies on soccer jerseys or English football players going on bended knee with a fist raised. The strategy of ‘divide and conquer’ has been a tool of the ‘New Order’ for centuries – black against white, protestant against catholic, jew against muslim, capitalist against socialist, democrat against republican, rich against poor and so on. We the ‘sheeple’ are pressured to conform or we’ll be hated. I hold a ‘common sense’ view.

I am especially interested in this Black Lives Matter circus. There are few issues closer to my heart than racism. As a student in Galway, I shared a flat with two black lads from southern Africa. I stuck up for them when they were racially abused in Galway and here in Donegal.

Nobody disagrees that black lives matter. In fact, we should agree that all lives matter particularly those in the womb who have no voice. However, those who founded the movement don’t believe that all lives matter.

While you watch the English premiership footballers, liberal American politicians, entertainment figures and Hollywood stars go on bended knee, have you ever wondered what this whole charade is really all about?

Carol Swain, a black female professor of law and a professor of political science in America explains: “I believe that the organization itself is using black people to advance a Marxist agenda. And the corporations, the schools, the churches that have gotten behind Black Lives Matter the organization, they think they are helping black people. They think they are showing support for black people but actually it’s the opposite…I think anyone who really understands the organization, how could they support it?... It’s problematic that Black Lives Matter focuses on whenever a white police officer kills a black person but not on the black on black crime or that women who are 13 percent of the population are getting 37 percent of the abortions… it’s a disturbing sight to see white people begging black people for forgiveness for something their ancestors may or may not have done depending on when they arrived in the US”.

That’s why we see all these stars on bended knee. President Trump said that the only person that we should go on bended knee to is God. There’s certainly a racism issue globally but many of us who fight it are unaware of the Black Lives Mater movement’s true agenda. Check out their website for yourself, their long-term goals and who their founding members represent. It’s disturbing.

While Ireland and the world are still on one knee economically, confusion and uncertainty are very palpable in current society. It seems inevitable that a second wave of the coronavirus is coming. More and more people are wearing masks but there’s much debate about their effectiveness.

“Though CDC’s (Centre for Disease Control) policy guidance encourages the use of face masks, there is substantial evidence showing that masks are harmful and a lack of evidence showing they are effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus. Studies show that wearing a face covering reduces blood and tissue oxygenation — which can be deadly — while increasing carbon dioxide levels. Mask-wearing can also increase the risk of infection and the spread of viral illness, hinder detoxification that occurs via exhalation, impair the immune system and cause many other ailments, both physical and emotional. Moreover, some masks have been found to contain known carcinogens, which put people at risk from inhaling toxic chemicals and having them come into contact with their skin” (GreenMedinfo, Newsletter, July 3, 2020).

I’m not sure one way or the other. There are conflicting views out there from the medical professionals.

Many GAA people believe that enough blood was sacrificed in Croke Park 100 years ago even if the Muslim organisers tell us that there will be no animals slaughtered in the stadium, the festival is symbolically sensitive. I have no problem with the faith of Islam. Indeed, we Christians could learn a lot from their commitment to their beliefs. Perhaps, the Phoenix Park would be a more appropriate setting.

In America, there’s little media coverage of the attacks on Catholic Churches and Catholic statues. “The Ancient Order of the Hibernians, the United States' oldest Irish association, has questioned the "deafening media silence" over the attacks and whether the media "has double standards of newsworthiness when intolerance targets Catholics” (, July 15, 2020).

Yes, all faiths have to be respected.

Thankfully, GAA football and hurling games are active again. The number of matches in such a condensed period is worrying from a ‘player welfare’ viewpoint. Injuries will certainly accumulate. The inter-county programme is scheduled to begin in October with the last two rounds of the National League. The championship then follows.

Again, I’m not sure about the wisdom of playing this year’s championship given the amount of games within a very tight timeframe. Perhaps, the championship should be given a pass this year and play out the remaining league games. If the ‘second wave’ arrives we may never see the championship.

In the meantime, keep the faith.

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