Racism is seen as the last taboo in football. Along with homophobia, racism maintains a seat in the darker side of the football world.
We all dip into stereotyping at some stage of our lives. However is stereotyping in football more racist than the equivalent in everyday life?
Park Ji-Sung signed for Manchester United in 2005. The South Korean was often used in the "big" or "major" games because of his work ethic. At times this work ethic overshadowed his natural ability. Many labelled him as a "work horse" and was only used because he "ran for 90 minutes". This assumption has since become a stereotype for not just South Korean but Asian players.
Now some would argue that it's because a good work ethic is drilled into them as kids. But surely they're not all built in this way. It's just another cliché that naïve football fans use to pretend that they know how most Korean or Japanese play. For example, non-existent fans of Serie A football seem to say that Yuto Nagatomo has a good work ethic and he doesn't stop running. This is nothing but a fixed on stereotype because of the rise of players such as Park.
Stereotypes in football have never been more cliché when talking about African players. The classic words used to bracket African players are: Beast, Strong and Naïve. These Neanderthals label most African players like this for the same reasons as Asians are labelled. Thick football followers that try and have an opinion and the only opinion they can muster is one of stereotypical forms. They fail to take into account that Africa holds players on completely different styles.
It's no secret that Egypt and Algeria differently built players to that of Cameroon and Ivory Coast. However they still say "these Africans can be naïve but they have strong players"
So is stereotyping in football, racist? I think when we start talking about racism in football; we know we have a problem. Just look at Suarez and Evra, Terry and Ferdinand. Racism is certainly active in football but when people deny it's not there, they're only kidding themselves.
When people start labelling and putting players in brackets, it's certainly a cause for racism. I'm sure the debate will rage on and until it's sorted, these stereotypes will continue to be used by lobotomised gibbons.