Racism blights French football again
February 17 2009 at 11:04PM
Paris - John Mensah is one of the most feared defenders in French football. But his voice trembled when he told the French daily L'Equipe about the racist taunts directed at him during a Ligue 1 match on Sunday at his home stadium in Lyon.
"I heard those things in the first half. It came from my side. It's the first time that's ever happened to me. I don't know why he did that. It's only a football match," the 26-year-old Ghana international said in an interview published Tuesday.
Deeply shaken, Mensah wanted to leave the stadium at half-time during the match between his side, first-place Lyon, and bottom-of- the-table Le Havre at halftime. But Lyon coach Claude Puel and teammate Kader Keita talked him into going back onto the pitch.
It was not the first racist incident the Lyon defender suffered since joining the French seven-time champions in 2008.
In September, he was arrested by Lyon police because he could not make himself understood in French and, according to his description, ended up with a gun pressed to his temple in the middle of the night.
"I haven't forgotten that affair with the police; I'll never forget it," he said. "But this is different.
It was different, he said, because "he spoiled my profession. After that, I only want one thing, to go back home, to Ghana. To forget all of this."
“I should not have [agreed to go back out to pay],” he confessed. “I did not have my head in the game because I was shocked.”
“Afterwards I took a red card. I think it was harsh because I had not made many mistakes in the match and the referee must’ve heard what was happening in the stands.goal.com