Is This Racist?

February 29, 2012 2 Comments by Sam Mathius

Liverpool’s Spanish ‘keeper, Pepe Reina, is in a bit of controversy today for the fourth ad in the above video. It involves a play on words involving the fact that his last name means Queen in Spanish. However, not everyone is smitten with the ad. Operation Black Vote, a UK based group that promotes racial equality cried foul claiming that the ad displays black people as “stupid, backward, animalistic homosexuals”.

OK, I won’t be around the bush, I’ll just say it: this ad is not racist. Reina is the butt of the joke, not the black chief or the tribe. Did anybody also realize that the guide in the ad whom introduces Reina to the King is a black man? Or how about the fact that OBV included being a homosexual in a list of negative adjectives along with “stupid” and “backward”?

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Moreover, Simon Woolley of OBV poorly attempted to relate a very clear cut and offensive comment made by former Spanish manager Luis Aragones to the ad. In no way does Aragones referring to Thierry Henry as a “black shit” relate to this issue. That is racist. Having a satrical ad in which the laughs are pointed at a Spaniard, not a black man, is not racist. It’s that simple.

The ad may be a bit daft and a bit lacking in creativity but I hardly find it offensive. If anything it’s more disrespectful to tribal cultures, not black people. It points to the fact that Mr. Woolley views his experience as a black British citizen as somehow equal to that of a black tribal citizen from a foreign land. I fail to see the connection as I believe most people would. It’s misunderstood connections such as this that actually hurt the fight against xenophobia and racism instead of helping to solve the issue. It trivializes and blurs the line on the issue when we start to lump groups that are vastly different under the same umbrella.

I realize this may be a sensitive issue. If you feel the need to comment below, please let’s keep it civil and G rated. R rated comments will not be posted. PG-13? Maybe. As long as its more Indian Jones and the Last Crusade and not Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Boy that LaBeouf kid really ruined that franchise.


  1. Stan
    2 years ago

    Thank you for a tempered view around this subject. It’s patently clear that OBV who’s focus is on getting minorty races more involved in government and politics in the UK, has jumped on the media furore surrounding liverpool this season. Simon Woolley should be ashamed as this kind of baseless clutching at threads just for the sake of their own publicity actually undermines the fight against racism in football. OBV is doing more damage to race relations than Reina in this issue.

  2. Tom Jones
    2 years ago

    The spaniards are the most racist people in the world.

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