Lionel Messi has been accused by Royston Drenthe of Real Madrid/Everton of using racial language on his person. The news was published by Nu.nl (Dutch news webpage) with h/t to The Mirror and harkens to the time when Luis Suarez had a similar problem with Patrice Evra.
Drenthe states that the word used (which will not be published) is "common" in South America but "insulting" in Europe. Drenthe stated the same word was once used against fellow Real Madrid teammate Mahamadou Diarra and he felt offended.
The story has angles that need to be addressed in an attempt to arrive at a resolution of the problem.
Why Now? What Can Be Done?
According to Nu.nl with h/t to The Mirror, Drenthe claimed that the incident with Messi happened when FC Barcelona played against Hercules CF Alicante in the 2010-2011 season. The question that should be asked is: Why did Drenthe take so long to accuse Messi?
What is the response of Messi and FC Barcelona to the accusations by Drenthe? Were there any witness to what transpired?
Why did Drenthe not make a formal complaint before UEFA? Could there be cultural differences?
Football as well as other sports should be free of racism on and off the field. Drenthe should make a formal complaint against Messi and FC Barcelona before UEFA.
Messi and FC Barcelona should be allowed to explain before UEFA what transpired and what could be done. If Messi made the remarks, he and Barca must be punished by UEFA according to the rules.
Messi and FC Barcelona should make a public apology and continue to go forward.
UEFA and FIFA should begin a series of cultural sensitivity classes aimed at the players, the managers, as well as the chiefs of the organizations. It would not be a bad idea for club supporters to take such courses in the UEFA and FIFA websites.
While the solution may not eliminate racism from football, it is my hope that it could be reduced by a wide margin.