FOOTBALL’S strongest man Adebayo Akinfenwa says he ‘feels let down’ by the FA after they ruled the insult a ‘fat water buffalo’ was not racist abuse.
The Wycombe Wanderers striker heard the abuse from a Fleetwood Town representative during last season’s League One play-off semi-final.
Akinfenwa, 38, says he was subjected to racial abuse and felt ‘angry, frustrated and dehumanised’ after the incident, and reported it to the FA.
But, while the FA said that it was satisfied the insult was used, they claim there was ‘not sufficient evidence’ to charge the Fleetwood employee for a breach of FA Rule E3(2) – making reference to ethnic origin, race and/or nationality.
Akinfenwa told talkSPORT it’s no wonder players feel it is pointless to report racist abuse when the FA do nothing about it.
“I wont sugar coat it, I think the FA have let me down,” he told talkSPORT host Jim White.
“They keep promoting that we should report incidents.
“But I report it and I feel like they had a chance to say, even if it is a grey area for them, ‘let’s stamp it out’, but I feel they let me down.
“I don’t understand how it’s a lack of evidence.
“They’ve come out and stated that they accept the comment was made, but they cannot prove that it was racial.
“They told me that it either can be deemed as racist or it cannot be deemed as racist, but they’re going to err on the side of caution of it not being racist.
“There’s no grey area for me. That’s the disappointing thing.
The FA say an independent expert in race relations ruled that the words were not objectively racist.
But Wycombe are not happy with the outcome of the investigation, and said in a statement ‘there is no place in sport for such comments’.
PFA chiefs claimed that the FA had failed in its duty to Akinfenwa.
The PFA said: "It is abundantly clear that a white player with a similar stature to Akinfenwa would never be described in the way he was during this incident.
“Black people have battled dehumanisation for centuries, and the PFA strongly condemns the use of all disparaging remarks that compare black players to animals.”
The decision followed a two-month probe into the incident at the League One play-off second leg in July.
Akinfenwa has become a legend on FIFA for being the strongest player in the video game.
And he insists the insult was directed at the colour of his skin.
He said: “For me, there was no positive [intent] in calling me a fat water buffalo.
“It’s not ever banter. If I called you [speaking to Jim] a water buffalo it wouldn’t mean the same thing, as you have no direct identification with that sort of animal.
“If he called me a fat pig, I wouldn’t have said it was racist, I would have just said he disrespected me.
“But if you call me a fat water buffalo, there’s a difference. It was dehumanising and it’s wrong.
“Race is a triggered word, it’s an uncomfortable conversation. When we start adding race to it, all of a sudden certain people get tense.
“I get comments like ‘why are you making it racial?’ and ‘why is it a race thing?’. Why do people think using my skin colour is my go-to? It baffles me!
“I’m a father and I would say to my kids, ‘if someone is doing you wrong report it’, because that’s the protocol you should follow.
“The system, whether that’s a school or the FA, the system that’s there to protect you, report it so we can make a long standing change.
“Of course it’s disheartening [that it hasn’t been acted upon]. But if we want change we’ve got to continue to report it and we’ve got to continue standing up and paying attention so change can happen.”
“The most disappointing thing for me in this situation is the FA keep saying, ‘report these incidents’, but it got reported and nothing came out of it.”
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