“Call me bad, tell me you don’t like how I play. But don’t mess with my skin color” | LaLiga VS

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“Call me bad, tell me you don’t like how I play. But messing with my skin color, sexual orientation or a thousand other issues… You have to have zero tolerance. It is something that hurts a lot at the moment. Until you think about it coldly and come to the conclusion that the abnormal person is the one who utters those insults.” Iñaki Williams, one of the captains of Athletic Club after more than 400 games, is much more than a beacon for the followers of the Bilbao team. He is a social reference. A responsibility that he carries with pride and with the conscience of someone who knows that he is “living a dream” thanks to the sacrifice his parents made. In this conversation with journalist Dani Garrido he reveals all of his profound speech.

One, as Garrido points out, “does not become racist by going to the stands of a stadium. It is a problem of society.” A belief that Williams shares, although he is surprised that these situations are still experienced in the 21st century. To a certain extent, he is “glad” to have been the object of some of these attacks, because of the visibility it generates, because “I am a privileged person, an idolized player; “The most disadvantaged suffer much more.” Football can help combat these manifestations of hate: “It is the most watched sport, it represents values ​​such as camaraderie, teamwork…,” says Williams. “That’s what we have to remind the children and instill in them. I always tell my brother Nico: you and I have to be a mirror for them.”

The incident that Iñaki Williams suffered in 2020 was a milestone: LALIGA located the culprits and it was the first time that those who insulted someone because of the color of their skin in a stadium ended up sitting on a bench, before a judge, in a process that is still pending sentencing. “LALIGA acted very well: they cannot allow those comments. My teammates told me: ‘If it happens to you again, we will leave the field,’ says Williams, who applauds the way in which an institution like LALIGA has focused on this problem.

The brothers Iñaki and Nico Williams celebrate a goal for Athletic Club in the match on matchday 15 of this season.Juan Echevarría/LALIGA

The Monitor for the Observation of Hate in Sports

LALIGA has developed a tool that independently monitors the conversation on social networks and audits the level of hate and racism spread around Spanish professional football: one more step in its efforts to detect and eradicate violence and hate speech in football and in society. Every day and using a semantic engine with more than 50,000 linguistic rules and artificial intelligence algorithms, MOOD tracks up to 800,000 messages, calculating metrics that allow the fan to evaluate the progress of our football in this fight week by week.

The level of hate in conversations around football drops in the last day

Credits

Of the project Juan Antonio Carbajo (Editorial coordination) | Adolfo Domenech (Design Coordination) | Daniel Domínguez (Editor) | Alejandro Martín (Editor) | Juan Sánchez (Design) | Rodolfo Mata (Development)

Of the video Quique Oñate (Realization) | Maria Page (Editing) | Paloma Oliveira (Production) | Ander Urrosolo (Direction of photography) | Asier Marleza (Camera Operator) | Andrea Martínez (Camera Operator) | Alejandro Sáez (Art direction) | Juan Luis Urruela (Actress) | Blanca Otamendi (Makeup)

From the audio Elia Fernández Granados (Executive production) | Laura Escarza (Script and production) | Dani Gutiérrez (Sound editing)