If sport is to overcome racism, homosexuality and other non-Germanism, it must be tackled from the inside. That is why it is so good that we now see practitioners who engage in something more than themselves and theirs.
Unfortunately, we are used to the fact that there can be seasons between each time you see Norwegian athletes take a proper part in the public debate. And when we finally heard something recently from the so-called “athletes’ committee” in the Norwegian Sports Confederation, the message was a support to the IOC’s pompous rule about restricting the freedom of expression of sports stars during Olympic ceremonies.
But fortunately you do not need a formal role in the NIF system to take part in the exchange, and fortunately we see more and more practitioners this autumn who see the value in raising their voices about something important. Not least, this is of great importance when we experience such painful and difficult cases as the last few weeks have brought with them, in demanding topics such as incitement based on race or orientation.
On the field, Amahl Pellegrino has been very dangerous this season, but when the story of 2020 is to be written, it is at least as much the effort against discrimination the Kristiansund striker will be remembered for. He himself was subjected to racism, but Pellegrino did not just take the fight that concerned himself. He has become a clear voice in the fight to get proper sanctions. In addition, he showed empathetic qualities worthy of a role model when he became involved after a child was exposed to racism in a fight in the capital. Pellegrino took the initiative to get in touch with the young boy, who he promises “will have a good friend in me”. Kudos!
But Pellegrino is not alone in paving the way for important topics. Mjøndalen’s Markus Nakkim and Vålerengas Ivan Nãsberg are concerned with the very central point about where change must come from.
the two players take an initiative for the players themselves to take action against discrimination in top football. Of course they are right, at a time when we have not yet had an openly gay player in the Elite Series and one ugly case has replaced the other. For Freddy dos Santos, who manages the “Stop” campaign, the traction could hardly have come at a better time. Of course, the litmus test will eventually be whether fine words are also translated into action, but it is a huge step in the right direction that players themselves want an environment with healthy attitudes and ceiling height for people to be different.
In a completely different arena, Jørgen Graabak recently took a step you rarely see – he threw himself with full force into a challenging ethical discussion. The background was that he reacted to criticism from an editor and a commentator related to the postponement of the fluoride ban. Among other things, he believed that Tiril Eckhoff was treated unfairly. This case is demanding and can be attacked from different angles, but that an executive voice so clearly engages is healthy, necessary and enlightening.
Let us hope these examples are followed by many more in the time to come. Too often we experience that there is talk of the practitioners, while they themselves to a small extent use the opportunity to be heard.
And then there is something that is literally not true.