On the 18th of March Rangers had the opportunity to progress to the Europa League last eight when they took on Czech side Slavia Prague. Instead, they were knocked out of the competition, and in aid of a UEFA racial abuse investigation.
The match had been a physical battle from the first whistle – fouls and free-kicks galore. Most notably, Kemar Roofe’s horror collision with opposing goalkeeper Kolar. The Prague number one was stretchered off the pitch by both teams’ medical staff, later arriving back to the bench with bandages keeping his wounds from gaping. Roofe was sent off for the challenge, no denying that it wasn’t a red card offence. This would soon be the start of a hellish night for the Glaswegian outfit.
Following another foul, the players from both squads gathered. Kamara and Zungu standing closest to Slavia Prague player claiming to be hurt. Ondrej Kudela was then seen travelling towards Kamara, to pass on a ‘message’ – covering his mouth in a discreet manner to deflect any attempts at lip reading. As Kudela stopped speaking, Rangers players close to the whisper immediately reacted. The Gers captain, Connor Goldson, then asked his team-mate what was said to solve the issue. When told, Goldson’s approach was nothing short of explosive and angerful.
Players pushing each other, protecting each other and shouting was the scenes for minutes following. People at home watching couldn’t hear what was going on. After the match the Rangers boss Steven Gerrard told the media Glen Kamara was infact the victim of racial abuse during the match. He went onto say he will “stand toe-to-toe with Glen, and deal with it however Glen would like to”.
Following the game social media outlets like Twitter were jam-packed full of support and empowering messages towards Glen and other players who were victims of abuse. Kemar Roofe’s instagram was a different story.
The former Leeds and Anderlecht forward shared screenshots of people commenting on his recent posts with derogatory terms like ‘N*GGA F*CK YOU’ followed by monkey and banana emojis.
Both players will be supported by Rangers, and hopefully UEFA, to come to a conclusion of punishment if the player is found guilty of a racist remark. The clubs of last nights fixtures have released statements regarding the incident – the two statements telling very different stories.