Basketball

Darren Randolph Knew How To Avenge Racist Comments On GAA Pitch

Darren Randolph Knew How To Avenge Racist Comments On GAA Pitch

Darren Randolph can recall experiencing racism when he was in growing up in Bray.

"I am fairly confident I was the only mixed-race person in my primary school," the Ireland international goalkeeper told Basketball Ireland's 'Bench Talk'.

"I was aware from a young age that I was different just from my skin tone alone.

"Kids being kids in the playground or you're playing football, different things are being said and people will laugh about it.

"When you are young you don't probably understand the seriousness of what's said or what certain terms or words mean.
So, yeah, there were certain times where I would get upset about it.

"Looking back now, I would probably get more angry or upset because I know where those words and phrases came from and what they meant and the full background on everything.

"Sport definitely brought it out more. It's more so why, when I was a little bit older, I enjoyed playing Gaelic football.

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"If we were travelling somewhere, if we went to Wicklow or to play some Dublin teams, if there's anything said on the Gaelic pitch, you're able to shoulder someone or if someone is running with the ball, you're able to throw in a little sly punch. That sounds bad to say but it was my way of getting my own back.

"If you were playing football in the Wicklow or the Dublin league, people would be able to stand or sit beside the goals. There's not much that can be done.

"When I was younger coming up against other teams in Wicklow or Dublin, I don't remember coming up against any other team with a mixed-race or black player. It made me more determined to do better.

"Any of the racism I experienced was never in basketball. It was in rugby, football or Gaelic."

Darren's younger brother Neil, who plays basketball for Ireland and Templeogue, also experienced racism growing up.

"There's one memory that sticks in my head," said Neil.

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"I was playing a football match. It was a couple of football matches travelling around Wicklow. There would be games in tough enough estates and I remember all types of names - any name you can think of - being thrown my way. I remember thinking, 'Why are they singling me out?' Obviously, as I got older, I understood why.

"It definitely was easier in basketball. I don’t think I ever experienced that type of comments in my direction in basketball at all. I can’t say the same when it comes to Gaelic football or to soccer.

"I am trying to find a reason for it, there is a lot of black culture and influence in basketball and those who play in basketball are aware of that."

Picture credit: Sportsfile

See Also: We Need To Discuss John Mitchel's Racism And His Connection With GAA

PJ Browne
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