Aufgeschnappt: Anelkas Quenelle

Confession: I was over an hour late for Yom Kippur services this year because I couldn’t bare to miss the end of a West Brom match.

I’m sure there are more elaborate ways in which I could describe my personal relationships with both Judaism and West Bromwich Albion, but I think the fact that I spent the morning praying for Gareth McAuley’s header instead of my soul probably sums up the gist of things rather well. I’m definitely a nice Jewish girl, but if my rabbi told me to go on a transcendental pilgrimage, I would be far more likely to end up at The Hawthorns than the Western Wall.

Ergo, I don’t think it’s an understatement to say the club’s non-reaction to Nicolas Anelka’s quenelle gesture has put me in something of a moral bind. I want to support the club I love, but their refusal to issue a real apology or remove Anelka from first-team selection makes that somewhat difficult. How am I meant to cheer for my team when I’m aware the striker feels a sense of ‘solidarity’ with a man who thinks it’s a pity my family weren’t gassed to death in concentration camps? How can I possibly celebrate a goal when I fear the person responsible for scoring it wishes I didn’t exist? I know most people would tell me to just forget about the incident and show my support for the club, but that’s not so easy to do when their actions indicate a belief that anti-semitic hand gestures are nowhere near as offensive as Peter Odemwingie tweeting in a car park.

Perhaps if I supported a different team, my expectations wouldn’t be so high, but I know West Brom are better than this. After all, part of the reason I chose to be a WBA fan was due to their history of challenging prejudice. Moreover, when I made the journey from my home in Michigan to The Hawthorns last Spring, I was so warmly received by the other fans that I reckoned no club could ever be more welcoming than my own, and I was certain I belonged there.

Come on, West Brom; tell me I wasn’t wrong.

Rachel: Offence In Some Quarters

Kopf des Tages … Doku Chamatowitsch Umarow

Vor den Winterspielen in Sotschi, Putins Prestigeprojekt, sollte nichts die Harmonie trüben. In seinem Sommerrefugium in Sotschi schickte sich der Präsident fast 34 Jahre nach den von Boykott überschatteten Sommerspielen in Moskau und dem Kollaps des Sowjetreichs an, vor den Augen der ganzen Welt seine neue Macht zu demonstrieren und genüsslich zu zelebrieren. Die Absage einiger Honoratioren wegen der homophoben Politik seiner Regierung löste bei Putin womöglich Ingrimm aus. Doch nun liegt über „Putins Spielen“ – „satanischen Spielen“ in der Diktion Umarows – vollends ein Schatten. Das Gespenst des Kaukasus-Terrors ist zum schlechtesten Zeitpunkt aufgetaucht.

THOMAS VIEREGGE in der PRESSE: Der Terror ist zurück – und „Zar Wladimi“ fürchtet um seine Spiele

Mehr zu dem äußerst unsympathischen Herrn aus dem Kaukasus gibt’s HIER.