Bad sport

So junior sports minister Jet Bussemaker plans to take action against aggression, discrimination and over-consumption of alcohol in sport, does she? It is a noble aim indeed, but perhaps an impossible one. It’s partly the nature of the beast.

Sport, whatever the policy makers might imagine, is not about being part of a team and working together. Sport is all about winning.
Bussenmaker should spend a Saturday watching seven and eight-year-olds play hockey or football and listen to the perma-tanned mothers screaming at the referee when little Jaap’s goal is disallowed if she wants proof.
Discrimination on the pitch is a different matter. Discrimination is not an issue for sport alone. Making negative comments about other peoples’ lifestyle, appearance and beliefs has become acceptable in large parts of Dutch society as a whole, under the misnomer ‘freedom of speech’.
Little Jaap’s dad doesn’t see anything wrong with describing the other team as a ‘bunch of gays’. And after the match is over, he is happy to retire to the bar with the other dads for a couple of beers and harangue the ref some more. If Bussemaker really wants to make a difference, she should start with the parents.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation