Many of you have watched games and have been suddenly pierced by an evil chant, a taunt or a gesture coming from opposition fans. Situations like Samuel Eto'o leaving the pitch while playing for Barcelona due to racial slurs and Rio Ferdinand claiming that the black English players were hearing monkey chants among many others.
Although these moments are disgusting, and drag the sport back a few years, what allegedly happened at the npower Championship (League under EPL) tie on January 2, goes even a little bit deeper. It evolves many common motifs in the modern game—players being cultural property being one, and the power of social media, being the other.
Billy Sharp, a well-known campaigner in the Championship, with a fine goalscoring record to go with it, lost a two-day-old child in October. The Doncaster Rovers (Sharp's team) fans have claimed that chants of "Where's your baby gone?" were heard in the stadium, while Sharpe went about his business on the field in a league tie against Barnsley.
Per The Daily Mail, the allegations first surfaced on social media outlet, Twitter.
They have since gone on to Facebook, where this chain mail has been passed around:
Barnsley, full of tramps and absolutely disgusting football fans. At there game against Doncaster Rovers, Barnsley fans were chanting 'where's your baby gone', to Billy Sharp who tragically lost a child not so long ago. If you want to show respect for him and his family then post this on your wall as a status. Even if you don't support a team. Kick these disgraceful (expletive) out of football and punish them by embarrassing them all over the UK,Ireland and hopefully the world. Copy and paste this as your status to show respect for Billy Sharp!!...........pure (expletive) disgrace those fans should be ashamed of themselves!
If proven guilty, should the Barnsley fans go to prison?
Barnsley deny the allegations, calling them "Twittergations" and their chairman has made a statement saying he was at the match and heard no such chants.
Billy Sharp made a statement highlighting that he did not hear any such chant, but the fact that this is all being brought up again must be a terrible ordeal for the 25-year-old.
I think that if such chants did occur, then all parties involved in the hateful jeers deserve prison time.
Every football player, especially those of whom not playing in the big stages of their domestic game, should be respected when going to work, earning their money. This is a direct violation of Sharp's human rights, and regardless of the age of the guilty parties, they need to be taught right from wrong, and making an example out of them will send a message to world football.