Bernie Ecclestone and Lewis Hamilton: The Whole Racism Thing

Edward QuinnCorrespondent INovember 8, 2008

It's been dragging on for quite a while now, but I'm sure like many of you, I want to see the back of this whole racism scandal.

It's pathetic and it's the mark of idiots who have nothing better to do than get on the back of someone because of their ethnicity and other things.

But the way Bernie Ecclestone handled the racism surrounding the newly crowned Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton was, in a way, an even worse case.

In an effort to try and clear the air, Ecclestone said that the whole thing was a "joke," that it had been "blown out of proportion" and that overall, the sport never had a problem with racism.

These comments provoked a reaction from the Hamilton camp, who felt it was far worse than what Ecclestone described.

Newly crowned World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, insisted he did not see it as a joke and, amid suggestions he was condoning racism, Ecclestone was roundly condemned by groups such as Kick It Out.

Ecclestone then tried to clear the air again, almost in an embarrassed way, by terming his use of the word "joke" as "I meant they were a joke, clowns.

"If I had had the opportunity, I would have got those guys, dragged them into the paddock and asked them to explain themselves and say the things they were apparently saying directly to Lewis.

"Anyone who does this sort of thing against Muslims, Jews, or whoever, are third-rate people."

These incidents refer to when Hamilton was taunted by spectators during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

In for the last race of the season at Brazil, visitors were urged to visit a "voodoo-style" website that invited to them to drop imaginary nails on a computer version of the Interlagos track, in the hope that Hamilton would suffer a puncture and hand the title to home favourite Massa.

Many of the posts were obscene, while others referred to Hamilton's skin colour.

I, for one, am appalled about fans who can sink to such a low level. True, the Hamilton-Alonso rift in 2007 would've upset the Spanish fans as they thought Hamilton was denying their man a third straight title, but that was hardly a good excuse to go out and do what they was disgraceful.

Racism is a horrid thing...we've already had it in football, where disgruntled fans often boo players regarding their ethnicity or colour, and that's bad enough.

But for it to spread to other is wrong, just wrong. The time has come to put more effort into those anti-racism campaigns, and get it out of sport once and for all.


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