BRIAN Lewis, president of the TTOC (TT Olympic Committee) and CANOC (Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee), has bemoaned the measures used by global sporting leaders to combat racism and discrimination in sport.
Lewis was speaking on Monday during a web media conference on the SIGA (Sport Integrity Global Alliance) recommendations on race, gender, diversity and inclusion in sport, by a task force which he chaired.
“Racism remains the most common form of discrimination,” said Lewis. “We cannot avoid the reality that discrimination, whether it is on the basis of gender, ethnicity, the colour of your skin and age, is very much alive. Many of us in decision-making positions know the truth, see the truth but choose to deny the truth.”
Lewis, who is also a member of the SIGA Council, was speaking on the first day of SIGA’s Sport Integrity Week.
He said one thing that preoccupied him "as we worked in the task force with tremendous intensity, and support from a number of people, was this central question – can the world’s sports leaders be trusted?"
That’s a very important consideration, he said, because the world of international sports remains "very much Eurocentric" and one of older males, Lewis continued: “Individuals who are as committed, as passionate and as well-intentioned as they are, but who have never experienced racism or discrimination on the basis of gender or any other form of perceived differences that framed us versus them.”
Referring to incidents of racism and discrimination, Lewis noted, “We look at the world of sport and we see from time to time unsatisfactory pictures: whether it is monkey chants, bananas being pelted, the unequal treatment and representation of gender in the media, the reality is before us.
“The world of sport and the values, which are supposed to foster unity, equality (and) solidarity – we are living in a fools’ paradise. Sport is an aspect of society, and what bedevils society would bedevil sport.”