Sunday, April 22, 2007
News here at the moment is the controversy over an alleged racial gesture committed by former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker Milan Baroš in a scoreless draw between Lyon - his current club - and Rennes on Wednesday night. The picture to the left shows Baroš holding his nose and fanning the air just after a brief contretemps with the young Cameroonian defender Stéphane M'Bia. Baroš claims that he was just articulating something that he was unable to say, as he doesn't speak French - the gist of the gesture meant to be 'give me some space' and not 'you stink', which would have an ugly racial resonance, and his club and manager Gérard Houllier have stood by him. Some people see a witch-hunt led by do-gooders willing to see racism in every small detail, others are adamant that it is clearly a racist gesture committed in the belief that it was off camera. I incline towards the latter opinion, mainly because Baroš' explanation is not too convincing, and there would have been various better ways to intimate what he claims he wanted to. He may yet find himself in deep trouble.