Sitapha Savané He was always a different player, breaking the topic that sport and politics could not be mixed. It does not come again to this son of Senegalese diplomats, who from a young age knew the importance of politics to achieve social victories. His mother told him “what you do will be a reflection for many people like you. You, like it or not, are an ambassador.” A maxim that he has followed during his sports career and now, two years after retiring, the expívot of CB Gran Canaria, among others, and a television commentator takes advantage of his media projection to join the worldwide anti-racist movement generated after the murder of George Floyd. Adoptive son of Gran Canaria and the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Act like spokesperson for the Black African and Afro-descendant Community in Spain, created with the impulse of the protests in the United States.
“I am delighted to be able to help people with more experience. As I have a certain media relevance, and Sitapha is known, perhaps I can get to more places, even if it takes me some disappointment“
Savané claims that athletes have the same right as anyone to position themselves politically and socially. Of course, he asks them the same as the rest: to inform themselves before speaking. “It is crazy or foolish to say that athletes cannot have an opinion like any other. But it is attacked if you do not know about this thing. We all have in mind cases of athletes who think one thing and then the opposite. There is no need to talk about politics and of subjects that you do not control. In that case, better shut up and play with your ball. If I talk about politics it is because my whole life has interested me. Sport can help to raise awareness, “explains the graduate in Economics, who is currently studying an MBA and speak six languages.
He remembers when he came to Spain 20 years ago to play in Menorca and was surprised by the racist screams of fans. Thick words, like the black shit of a lifetime. Not only to him from rival fans, but from fans of his team to opponents. “When I heard someone from my hobby, I turned to call him the antención. The next day he apologized and I said ‘man, but how do you do that? You yell that and you have another on your team.”
He expívot de Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Estudiantes and Joventut He believes that in stadiums the change has to come not from the players who are victims of racism but from their teammates: “If instead of saying, ‘You come in, stay’, all the teammates stop playing, the problem would soon end.”
Anyway, points out that what athletes suffer is “a drop of water compared to the entire glass that others have to swallow. But if we only talk about personal experiences, the self-styled black Vox can always come out saying that it hasn’t happened to him. “
For this reason, beyond personal stories, Savané considers that data is needed. Like the one pointed out by the UN report that explains that in Spain a black man has 42 times more options than a white man to be stopped by the police: “I have already stopped counting the times I have been stopped with my car, it is striking that a black boy drives an Audi. And when I ask ‘is there any reason why I was stopped’, they tell me ‘none, you can leave “My wife, who is white, says that the ratio is not normal. That is why official statistics are needed.”
Although anti-racist organizations compile these attacks, the former Granca defends that it should be the Government that collects and publishes them. From platforms like yours they see with concern the “feeling of impunity” of racist attacks has increased since the Vox boom, in the same way that happened in the United States with the rise of Trump: “There are no politicians who stand up to the speech from the extreme right and the result is this type of aggression. “
Savané explains that for 18 years he had been proud that the extreme right was not in the institutions in Spain, but “unfortunately it is over”. “As a Democrat I respect all parties, but these voters do not appear out of nowhere,” he says.
Don’t let it go free
Reflect that racism is mixed with classism and aporophobia (phobia of the poor): “The treatment that I receive has nothing to do with what a Senegalese who was a clone of mine would receive. How the film changes when they don’t know who you are and when they do.”
Aim that “education is key and that racism is learned and can be unlearned”. And she claims that the laws allow “situations of criminality not to come free.” That is why it calls on the State to take measures to end the wage differences, facilitate access to housing and make changes in the immigration law: “There cannot be a mantero who has been in Spain for 10 years without being able to have papers. No one is mantero because he wants to or wants to defraud. It is to be able to eat and survive. Those who defraud millions do it from offices and with the help of lawyers. A clear process is needed to regularize, not a limbo of administrations. It seems that they want to have ghosts, no we know how many and under what conditions. “
Savané trusts that the global phenomenon generated will shake the foundations of “structural, institutional and social racism”. “It is incredible what happened with Floyd but we do not see what happens here. Two months ago there was no talk of racism in Spain and the situation was no different. It is time to achieve something concrete now that society is listening,” he argues. Call for “real and concrete changes”, that are not only “cosmetic changes” and that “something good comes out of something bad”.
The expivot, who she declares herself a feminist from a young age, considers that the “anti-racist movement is now in Spain as the anti-machista 25 years ago”. “It is justice against discrimination, it is not white against black, in the same way that feminism is not women against men. If I charge more for being a man than a woman that is discrimination. It is not a war of color. The vast majority of the country it is not racist, “he concludes.