Mariano Rajoy, current President of Spain and candidate to be reelected in the coming elections, is the latest to be affected by the culture of hate which has become rampant over the last few years.

I understand the  culture of hate to be a way of living  in which anything goes while at the same time justifying the hate with the much-used  and abused principle of  “freedom of expression”. Public personalities are constantly personally attacking other public figures using the media. For their part too, the media use the negative repercussions of these attacks to generate tension and stir up controversy. This all leads to dividing people and ausing confrontation between different groups. And  when I say media  I am not talking  about gossip magazines and programmes or  the kind of people who thrive on morbid stories and controversy. I am speaking  about  athletes, politicians and even serious journalists as opposed to those who work in the sensationalist press who claim to be real journalists but who  are clearly not. As a result of all this we have reached the point where many  people hate anyone who who is different from them, who does not think, speak or have the same ideology as them.  People who hate the rich for being rich and even the poor for being poor. Old people, people with disabilities and other historically discriminated groups are hated. People of other races are hated. They hate politicians, bankers, judges, policemen. They hate themselves. They spend their day hating.

But I want to  focus on sport. Let’s take football as an example since it is  by far the  most popular sport in Spain.  Since the age of seven or eight, and especially in recent years, all too often  deplorable acts and statements are a daily occurrence in the world of football.  The vast majority of children in this country who want to engage in sports copy what they hear and see. People like Mourinho or Piqué who are involved in the game or journalists like those from the programme  «El Chiringuito» – previously known as «Punto Pelota» – do nothing more than foster a spiral of hatred and vitriol which carried to the extreme can end in violence, aggression  and a multitude of similar problems which could have been avoided in the first place. In every episode of the programme “El Chiringuito” the journalists are determined to create division and confrontation and this invariably leads to a heated , argumentative atmosphere.  (Do you remember the banner that the panel showed in one of the programmes which said «Mou , your finger shows us the way » referring to  his attack on Tito Vilanova?) This is one of the negative aspects of the media: people say all manner of outrageous things however we can never know who hears or reads them and what their reaction might be. Therefore, it is vital to be measured and composed when taking part in public debate.

Therefore, I believe that there should be some kind of ethics or disciplinary  committee with the power to sanction both athletes and coaches  or managers   with economic and / or disciplinary sanctions . This committee should also be able to punish the media with sanctions such as prohibiting them from using images of The LFP or the sports competition in question if they do not moderate their language and behaviour. Another possibility is to issue fines. Hopefully these measures could be a way of ending this wave of violence and hate that we have created and encouraged.

Let us use  all means possible  to stop this problem. Together we have created a beast and we are all involved in feeding it.

Therefore, together let us put an end to this beast. Let us ensure that sport and society as a whole, stop being a breeding ground for hatred and violence. This is a game that we all must take part in and we will win if we have a clear strategy and are willing to put it into practice.

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