Azeem Rafiq And 4 Other Sport Superstars To Have Suffered Racial Abuse Recently

Sport Superstars

We reside in a society where there's no confidence in racial equality. In all walks of life, there is this godforsaken notion of racial superiority mostly resulting from victims' skin color and colonial history. Even though various ethnic groups, countries, and individuals are in the fight against racism, nevertheless racism in the world of sport has not in any way felt this resolution, instead, it is increasing at an alarming rate.

The effects of racism are numerous, with disparities in the physical and mental health of the victim at the top of the list. Victims of sports racism, commonly the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People of Color) have seen their careers slumped as a result of stress, anxiety as well as depression. The likes of Azeez Rafiq, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka amongst others have been trolled, called different ridiculous names by fans, why? Because of their skin color which isn't a crime or because they had a bad game which is also normal. 

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The fight against racism in sports, especially in Europe is real, in action but then, the use of social media has made racism spread like wildfire making it uncontrollable. For instance, football authorities have gone to the extent of printing quotes of “NO RACISM” on jerseys as well as coming up with agendas of players taking the knee to symbolize the fight against racism. Regardless, these have largely proven to be ineffective.

Here are a few athletes that are victims of racism abuse, their experiences are also detailed in;

Azeem Rafiq

Azeem Rafiq is the first cricketer of British Asian origin to play for the Yorkshire Cricket Club.  He set out in his career early in life getting his senior debut at a tender age of 17, captaining his club under-15 and under-19 sides and leading them well, and also making runs of wickets and winning the champions cup vk. Rafiq took time to explain how he was humiliated and bullied while playing for the Yorkshire side, recounting how he found it difficult to fit into the team as he was treated as an outsider. At the start when he raised concerns about various racism happenings against him, Yorkshire Cricket Club dismissed those allegations. There were also reports saying Rafiq was offered a “six-figure sum” to sign a non-disclosure agreement that would seal the case so it wouldn’t be heard of but he didn’t. Rafiq was not just abused by UK racists and discriminatory fans, but also by his teammates, captain, and coaches alike. Well, the good news is despite having an abrupt end to his cricketing career, Rafiq’s unwavering fight against racism has paid off with the English cricket body offering an official apology to him and others like him and also promising to find resolutions to the cultural differences experienced by athletes in the cricket sport.




Marcus Rashford

The young footballer has been a constant victim of racism both from abroad as well as UK racist fans. In sports, as a BIPOC, whenever you perform well and shine brightly in a match, you are regarded as one of them, a star, a hero, but when you do have a bad game, then there is the opportunity for trolling and abuse. This has been the case for Marcus Rashford and a lot of other athletes. Following Manchester United's defeat to Villarreal in the Europa league finals, the youngster created a post on Instagram and it was reported that nothing less than 70 racial abuse were accounted for. Later in the Euro 2020 finals against Italy where he took and missed a penalty, a lot of threats and abuse did follow.

Romelu Lukaku

A Belgian striker who has played for different football clubs in Europe has been a target of racial abuse many times, with him being a subject of online and offline monkey chants in stadiums and social media. In his personal opinion, social media has brought racism to an all-time high as there is no restriction in place to curb what is being said or displayed. Being a victim both in England and Italy, Lukaku has called out UEFA, FIFA and social media giants to a proposed summit to find solutions to online racism.

Edwin Jackson

The 29-year-old French basketball player has also been a victim of racial abuse and this occurrence was even during a match. He was spat on, thrown lighters and chairs, and also referred to as a monkey, humiliated all because of his skin color. The unacceptable and unprofessional environment of sports was a cause of an emotional breakdown to the player at the time.

Christine Mboma, Beatrice Masilingi, and other Black Women Athletes in the Olympics

Following the happenings at the Tokyo Olympics, it became glaring that not only fans, but also some sporting bodies are involved in the perpetration of racism. Hair cap ban decisions, as well as testosterone testing, were physical ways of denoting racism in the Olympics competition. Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi amongst many others were women barred from various competitions because they have a higher level of testosterone or something not definitive. This has shown how black women are maltreated, excluded, and punished without committing a crime thus faulting their greatness and causing them emotional and mental traumas. It is seen that it is the “Whites” that set the standards to suit them, and as a BIPOC, if you fall out of these requirements and standards, you get sidelined.


Racism isn’t only found in sports, but in all areas of society. Athletes have suffered career losses, emotional breakdowns, and mental illness due to discriminative abuses. There are campaigns for a positive turnaround, hopefully, they work out.


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