David Mpondo On His Battle With Cultural Injustice
Article by Scott Young
Racism in sport is as big of a problem as it’s ever been, with the rise of social media, we have seen almost a daily occurrence of someone being abused on social media. However, in the case of Glasgow Rocks’ David Mpondo, Julius Van Sauers and Marc Kwedi, it got far worse than just social media.
They were abused by neighbours from pillar to post. From their car being smashed to them making false reports about them and for three men who had just moved to Glasgow it was an incredibly distressing period of time.
Mpondo has spoken though about how he feels the awful situation him and his teammates went through can only help them be mentally stronger.
The Frenchman said:
“Mentally at first, we were obviously really surprised, like we had just moved to a country that we don’t know.
“We thought everything was going to be fine. We are just professional basketball players so I don’t know why people would be mad at us. We had only just been here a short while. I was just really surprised.
“But like I said after this, when you go through something like this it makes you better mentally and stronger and you just need to be ready for whatever can happen.”
The support from the sporting community shocked Mpondo as he felt the backing was incredibly overwhelming
“The community response was really great, the Glasgow Rocks’ support backed us fully, we had interviews with the likes of BBC news, and even in France, back in my home country.
(David’s company car was attached by a hammer)
“We had fans text us and people all around Glasgow message us through the likes of Instagram. I’m sure we must have had over 1000 messages. It felt good to see people be so kind to us after everything we went through. It was really good, really positive.”
It’s not just in basketball across the sporting landscape the abuse that players are receiving is getting out of control. To the point that some sporting icons, such as Thierry Henry have left social media until something happens.
But Mpondo believes that boycotting social media isn’t enough, players might need to start to boycott sports altogether:
“If tomorrow, minorities just didn’t play… if tomorrow you see for example no black people playing basketball or no black people playing soccer until the racism change is enacted. To me that would make people take notice.”
(Intelligent Car Services donated a car to the Rocks to show that Glasgow is better than the problems they had encountered)
“Unfortunately in sports money is key and it’s often only when that is threatened that advances can happen.”