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“By refusing to take part in this collective operation”

Idrissa Gueye is a Senegalese footballer who plays for his country and for the French side Paris Saint-Germain.

On Sunday 15th May, Paris Saint-Germain played Montpellier. On that day, players in the French Ligue 1 were meant to wear football jerseys with the numbers in LGBT rainbow colours in order to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. Unexpectedly, Mr Gueye did not play in that match. So far as I can find out with my limited ability to search news reports in French, he has not said why he sat out the match, but it is widely believed that it was because he felt that it would be incompatible with his religious beliefs to wear a shirt in Pride colours. He is a practising Muslim.

Via Paul Embery, I found this quotation from a letter that the FFF (Fédération Française de Football / French Football Federation) sent to Mr Gueye on May 17th:

“There are two possibilities, either these allegations are unfounded and we invite you to speak out without delay to silence these rumours. For example, we invite you to accompany your message by a photo of yourself wearing said shirt.”

“Or the rumours are true. In this case we invite you to realise the impact of your act, and the grave error committed. The fight against discrimination towards different minorities, whoever they might be, is a vital fight for all times. Whether it’s skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, or any other difference, all discrimination is based on the same principle which is rejection of the other because they are different from the majority.”

“By refusing to take part in this collective operation, you are effectively validating discriminatory behaviour, and rejection of the other, and not just against the LGBTQI+ community. The impact of football on society and the capacity for footballers to be a role model for those who admire them gives us all a particular responsibility.”

The report and translation come from the website Get French Football News. It says that it is quoting a story from the French sports paper L’Equipe. I believe the original L’Equipe story is this: “Le Conseil national de l’éthique de la FFF a écrit à Idrissa Gueye (PSG)” The headline means, “The National Ethics Council of the FFF has written to Idrissa Gueye (PSG)”.

One does not have to share Mr Gueye’s religious beliefs, or his (probable) opinions on LGBT issues, to see something sinister in this demand that he make a display of loyalty to prove his “innocence” of a charge that he did not participate in what is effectively the visual equivalent of compelled speech.

Why do they bother? They say Gueye must get himself photographed in a rainbow shirt because he’s a footballer and thus allegedly a role model. But such gestures of solidarity are inspiring only if they are known to be sincere. No one is going to be inspired to rethink their prejudices regarding gay people if and when Idrissa makes some obviously reluctant gesture of support.

23 comments to “By refusing to take part in this collective operation”

  • Ferox

    The fight against discrimination towards different minorities, whoever they might be, is a vital fight for all times. Whether it’s skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, or any other difference, all discrimination is based on the same principle which is rejection of the other because they are different from the majority.

    By refusing to take part in this collective operation

    (emphasis mine)

    The lack of self-awareness is hilarious.

  • One does not have to share Mr Gueye’s religious beliefs, or his (probable) opinions on LGBT issues, to see something sinister in this demand that he make a display of loyalty to prove his “innocence” of a charge that he did not participate in what is effectively the visual equivalent of compelled speech.

    The logical end point of the whole “Silence = Violence” aspect of modern wokery is that there is no option to abstain. You must be forced to speak the woke oath of allegiance to whatever the current thing is (BLM, LGBT+, trannies, etc.) so that they can separate the faithful (and the cowed) from the opponents.

    Can’t cancel people who refuse to say what they think, can you?

    As for the hypocrisy of “compelled speech”, saying whatever the tyrants of wokery demand so that you can do your job, feed your family and keep a roof over your head, sure they might be able to coerce this young immigrant lad into his compelled speech, but it will never stop, even if he does comply, because his actions have made him suspect, so he will be forced to ever increasing rounds of compliance until he snaps.

    That’s the way the woke work. It will never end and the threats of cancellation at each point of the ever tightening cycle of compliance will get worse until he finally bursts or becomes a mute puppet of their oppression.

    It’s repugnant. Even the show trials of the Soviet era had more integrity than this.

  • Lee Moore

    Why do they bother? They say Gueye must get himself photographed in a rainbow shirt because he’s a footballer and thus allegedly a role model. But such gestures of solidarity are inspiring only if they are known to be sincere.

    Such gestures of solidarity are all the more powerful when known to be insincere, for they demonstrate the power of Baal to compel obedience.

  • ’For example, we invite you to accompany your message by a photo of yourself wearing said shirt.’

    ‘Bake the cake, bigot’

  • X Trapnel

    Parallels with the knee-taking panic – where making gestures was compelled. South African cricketer Quinton de Kock did not comply.

    But his stand, which he did not explain, did not last long. Two days later, he recanted. Like Winston Smith, de Kock learned to love Big Brother.

    Gueye similarly did not explain his reasons behind not wearing the rainbow colours. He could have sky-written them from an aeroplane above the Champ de Mars for all the bien pensant fourth estate could have cared to report them.

    I did think a year or so ago about parodying the knee-taking craze and suggesting to the bosses of my organisation that ahead of the morning briefing we should all genuflect in solidarity with the oppressed, but I didn’t, because I was absolutely certain it would have become immutable organisation policy by lunchtime.

    Idrissa Gueye could become president of FIFA if only he’d utter a public policy reversal and wrap himself in the colours. But he’s a. not worried where his next penny is coming from, and b. has a fairly large constituency of support for his current position, not least the law of his own country.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    In the American version of ‘Shameless’, Liam has all kinds of people ‘taking the knee’ for the right price. I always thought that bending the knee was a sign of respect.

  • NickM

    Ferox,
    You saw the the big nail here and swung a lovely hammer-blow. That is precisely the point. I mean it’s not as if M. Gueye is going out beating gay people or even vaguely inciting violence or like anything. Silence is not violence. Sometimes it is just not caring for a particular cause. I do somewhat grimly like the way the missive has painted itself into a very awkward corner. So they expect an active fight against religious discrimination but don’t support someone’s religious position on a moral issue. Moreover, they don’t see how absurd that position is.

    I don’t really follow French football. I have more than enough angst being a NUFC fan (there shall be no tittering at the back – OK, why not – we are spectacularly mediocre and owned by the Saudis) but for this story to hit in the same week Jake Daniels came out as the first gay male pro player in England since Justin Fashanu (that was 32 years ago and ended very badly) is peculiar. I mean, I suspect, French football is not dissimilar to the English game in this respect and if that is the case FFF lecturing on homophobia is just bizarre. God knows what next… Joe Goebbels doing comic turns at Bar Mitzvahs?

  • Fraser Orr

    I think the bigger picture is — what has this to do with football? I doubt very much that the large majority of PSG fans care even a little bit about this issue. This wokeism is a strange phenomenon where people at the top preen their own beliefs at the cost or the organizations they lead. Michael Jordan famously said “Republicans wear sneakers too”, so what happened to that?

    And who gets to decide that the day is “International day against homophobia”? It seems these days are constantly popping up on my google calendar. FWIW I am opposed to homophobia every day, in favor of free speech every day, and in favor of football being about football only every day.

    It is the politicization of everything. It has very little do do with opposing homophobia, and everything to do with genuflecting at the altar of wokeism.

  • John

    With minimal exceptions (Wilfred Zaha and Marcus Alonso at the last count) premier league players still kneel like performing seals while off-pitch their minders try to distance the action from an organisation riddled with financial impropriety. Every tiny crack threatens to bring the whole ridiculous edifice tumbling down hence this desperate step of putting the screws on a devout Muslim.

    Still at least we now have a clear leader at the top of the intersectional oppression table.

  • dennis the menace

    Never apologise and never explain, its simple.

  • what has this to do with football? (Fraser Orr, May 21, 2022 at 3:05 pm)

    Nothing, of course – nor does that concern them. The whole point of totalitarianism is that it is total – that

    “There is no task that exists for itself alone.” (Quoted by Hannah Arendt in ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism’, originally said by Himmler as part of SS ideological training IIRC.)

    The FFF f-er may be part of the cabal, or fearful of it, or experiencing the two-sided totalitarianism of ideology and terror – up top, you tell yourself you believe it, and deep down you know you fear it. But that may be over thinking things: if an FFF official is as corrupt as a FIFA one, there could be nothing only half-acknowledged about their awareness they need the media to be friendly or uninterested in them.

  • lucklucky

    what has this to do with football?

    It doesn’t, the football or whatever is only an useful public vehicle to institutionalize the unique thinking that is acceptable.

    People inside football bureaucracy will be demoted and promoted based in this new values-power system. Young generations that want to defenestrate older people just need to hop into this thinking, or instead older people that want to protect their positions.

    The fantastic totalitarian power that Marxism can unleash is everywhere since you can see every human difference as an oppressor, oppressed pair.

  • Penseivat

    Rainbow coloured Police cars; rainbow coloured sports shirts; rainbow coloured flags. Where does it end? However, I would support, and buy, rainbow coloured toilet paper.

  • John

    Lucklucky

    That article links to a tweet by the US women’s goalkeeper which begins “Our team is about inclusion” and ends “You don’t belong in the sport………you would never fit into our pack”.

  • Pleahy

    You will be made to care.

  • DonM

    The fight against discrimination against the majority is an even bigger fight for this time.

  • […] one–a Senegalese Muslim named Idrissa Gueye–apparently didn’t participate. Natalie Solent at Samizdata has the story; links […]

  • […] Senegalese Muslim named Idrissa Gueye–apparently didn’t participate. Natalie Solent at Samizdata has the story; links […]

  • […] one–a Senegalese Muslim named Idrissa Gueye–apparently didn’t take part. Natalie Solent at Samizdata has the story; hyperlinks […]

  • […] one–a Senegalese Muslim named Idrissa Gueye–apparently didn’t participate. Natalie Solent at Samizdata has the story; links […]

  • […] one–a Senegalese Muslim named Idrissa Gueye–apparently didn’t participate. Natalie Solent at Samizdata has the story; links […]

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