European football has a real problem with racism, but it’s tricky because it’s not just straight up racism. You can’t just dismiss the incidents as a fan who’s racist and banning them. I mean, yes, they should be banned, but it’s also enlightening to remember that the City fans involved in making racist gestures and taunts root for a team that also fields a number of black players. So it’s not that they simply are racist, they hate United so much that the players for the other team are the ones who aren’t human beings. It’s perfectly acceptable to them to be racist against their rival players because the rivalry has reached the point where the other team, the other team’s fans, anything about United is game for whatever you want to say or do to them.
I think sports rivalries can be a great thing. Sports is the one place where you can truly just root against another team, passionately argue with other fans, But we can’t allow anyone to be treated as less than human, no matter who they play for, root for, or work for. It’s sports. It’s supposed to, literally, be fun and games. When it reaches the point where you feel like it’s OK to make racist gestures and comments to players or beat opposing fans in parking lots, harass them and their families on social media, etc. then you’ve lost the plot.
If you reach that point, you’re not a passionate, dedicated, fan, you’re just a horrible human being.