Two major Premiership players were accused of racist behavior on the pitch within a very short time period. Galatasaray's Emmanuel Eboue was pelted with garbage by Besiktas supporters in a ghastly scene. Bulgaria fans directed monkey chants at England's Ashley Young during a Euro 2012 qualifier match. A small group of extreme-right-wing Italian national team ultras abused their own player—striker Mario Balotelli—because he is black, holding up a banner reading "No to a multi-ethnic national team."
And what does the most powerful man in football do to confront what is a very obvious and very serious problem all over the footballing world? Deny, deny, deny:
"I would deny it. There is no racism. There is maybe one of the players towards another, he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one."
And how should players involved in a row like the one between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand solve their differences?
"He should say that this is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands, and this can happen, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination."
And with that, the majority of reasonable football fans all banged their heads against the wall in unison and probably used words that would not be within BR's content standards. You can't cure a sickness by pretending it doesn't exist. You cure it by detecting its source and, in some cases, using serious drastic methods to eradicate it.
So it goes with racism in football. If it's consistently ignored, it will persist or even get worse. And to suggest there isn't a problem when so many players and fans have been affected by it—Samuel Eto'o, for example, stopped bringing his kids to matches so they didn't have to hear the racist abuse their dad endured—is not only horribly out of touch, but a fierce slap in the face.
The one sort-of positive outcome of Blatter's most recent gross mishandling of the very serious issue of racism in football is that it introduced mass amounts of people the world over to the name Tokyo Sexwale. Not only was the man at the centre of Blatter's "I'm not racist; I have black friends" defense actually an inspiring political and human rights leader who helped end the ugliness of apartheid in South Africa, but that name is pretty amazing. And as (of all people) Piers Morgan pointed out, Sexwale certainly didn't end years of miserable forced segregation by "shaking hands."