Football and violence: it’s just the beginning of a tragic story – 07/14/2022

The images of a crazy Santos fan invading the field and attacking Cassio from behind are disturbing. Not so much for the consequences, because Cassio reacted quickly and, with a swing of his arm, took the attacker to the ground.

The disturbance comes from the pulse of violence we are all feeling building around us.

She is on the streets, in homes, at work, in stadiums.

It would be necessary to take a few steps back and try to understand what we are experiencing beyond the temptation of platitudes such as “that’s not a fan, it’s a delinquent”.

Yes, there are many delinquents who are fans. Just as there are delinquents who are large, medium and small businessmen, merchants, politicians, lawyers, judges… the list is endless.

A country sunk in misery and inequality will witness rising levels of violence. There’s no escaping that causality no matter how much puritanical prudes everywhere continue their mantra of “politics and football don’t mix.”

Violence in football was quite high in the 1990s, decreased in the 2000s, and is now rampant. The graphs of economic and social misery follow the growth curve of violence in the fields, in the stands and on game days.

When misery diminishes, violence diminishes; when it increases, so does violence. A terrifying metric for the group that wants to separate politics and football.

The truth is that politics and football are not separate. It’s all one thing.

From the price of official shirts, to the price of tickets and subscription channels for us to watch a game, to the situation of the working class that is called a professional player (about 10% can say they are rich; more than half earn a minimum wage) even the increase in hunger and unemployment: it’s all together and mixed up.

Football ends up being a dangerous outlet for the toxic masculinity so sacred to the men in power today.

To be macho is to be violent, aggressive, to carry a gun, to fight.

Some will say that this is even freedom of expression.

They truly believe that they have the sacred right to express their hatreds, their resentments, their prejudices.

They are stimulated by speeches made by the president of the republic and will continue on this journey of “taking justice into their own hands”. A justice that only they believe to be fair.

It will get worse.

The pre-election climate will intensify, Bolsonaro will continue to speak atrocities and call his informal militia to fight, males will continue to exude their toxic masculinities in the streets, in homes, in the workplace, in churches, hospitals and stadiums.

Football does not exist in a universe suspended from the rest of social life.

Our only way out is to face the situation head on, without denialism or platitudes.

It will get worse before it finally starts to get better.

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