It was just an ordinary game, until the referee called my friend a n*****.
One soccer game, we were playing one of our rivals, the score was tied 2-2. It was perfect weather for a soccer match. At around 3:45 pm, the sky was clear and sunny, it was probably about 60 degrees outside with a slight breeze. It was in the second half of the game. This game would determine which team would play in the championship game. A player on the other team, number 10, was on a breakaway, but Donovan, a player on my team, came in a slide tackled him just outside the box and prevented a goal. The referee blew his whistle, and pulled out a red card because it wasn’t the first time Donny had fouled someone that game. The referee said, “Red card, number 15.” Donovan tried to argue with the referee, but he responded with, “Get off the field, n*****!”
Once the referee had said that, everybody got involved and everyone was yelling at him. Everyday I think about the way the referee looked at Donovan. I can still picture the words coming right out of his mouth. He only got a one year suspension. He got let off easy. Donovan couldn’t believe that the referee would say something like that. He said to me, “I could expect something like that from a player, a kid, but the ref is an adult! Jesus!” He was extremely disappointed in the world because he thought that things had changed from the olden times. This experience had a great impact on my entire team because now we know that by saying a racial comment or making fun of a person’s race could affect their life a lot.
I believe that people who are African- American, Mexican, Spanish, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Christian, Jewish, or Muslim should not be afraid to embrace who they are. They should not need to hide their true selves. I believe that we should live in a world where everybody is accepted and loved no matter their skin color, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
We play lots of teams from Spain or Spanish speaking countries and we all respect them and treat them like any other person because my team doesn’t want to make a person on the opposing team feel the same way Donny did. Donovan works harder and harder everyday so that when he sees that referee again, he will be able to prove that even though he is of dark skin, he is still just as good at soccer as everybody else is.
This experience has shaped my entire worldview in a negative way. It bothers me that people still believe in slavery and that black people are not equal to white people. Also, it bothers me that people judge other people on the color of their skin or their race. I think it is unfair to judge others based off of their race or skin color because that is something that they cannot control. However, it has also made me a better person because I never thought of racism as a big deal in my generation, but seeing Donny react to what the referee had called him was very hard to watch. His eyes filled with anger and before he started to scream at the referee he gave the team one of those I-can’t-believe-he-just-said-that looks. I was so sad and angry at the referee for what he did to a good friend of mine, I felt as if I needed to do something for him. I went over to him at the end of the game and talked to him and listened to his feelings while we waited for our next game.
I could see through Donovan’s sad eyes and I knew that he believed that he could grow up without having to encounter racism because he thought that the world was a better place now that so many years had passed since slavery.
As the year went by, and we played more teams, I never forget to always play with respect and courtesy towards the other team. I believe that each and every person deserves equality. I believe they should be treated the same as every other person despite their religion, race, skin color, or sexual orientation and if they encounter a person who tries to put them down, I pray that they have the strength to be able to wipe their tears and move forward with their life just as Donny did.