Leeds United's Kiko Casilla's racism case has left sour taste for everyone concerned - David Prutton

FINALLY getting a verdict into the Kiko Casilla racism case has been a very long time coming.

By David Prutton
Saturday, 7th March 2020, 5:50 am
EIGHT-GAME BAN: For Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
EIGHT-GAME BAN: For Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Casilla comes out of it horrendously and when you read Jonathan Leko’s statement, you absolutely sympathise with what he has been through completely.

But even the process that Leko has had to go through getting to this point sounds pretty horrendous and the whole case leaves a very unsavoury taste in the mouth across the board.

If Casilla is found to be guilty then has to be dealt with in the most hard-hitting of circumstances.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

An eight-game ban has been chucked at him and that is the immediate portion of what Casilla has to deal with.

But his reputation is also damaged and now it’s about how it sticks with the rest of his career and post-playing.

The whole thing is just a horrendous situation really.

It should obviously go without saying that there is no place for any form of racism in football or society in general.

But it doesn’t go without saying because it’s still happening.

We dress ourselves up at times as this sophisticated, empathetic and nuanced body of human beings.

But stuff like this and the Eric Dier situation still happens.

The Dier situation is obviously different but there is still an idiot shouting stupid things to another person. In the set up of a football stadium, they think that’s okay.

We look at the Casilla situation and he is absolutely adamant that it didn’t take place or he has been misheard.

He said he was completely unaware of the racial slur that he used which strikes me as a little bit far-fetched.

I am not saying that because the English language is so predominant across the globe that everyone has to know each and every word that is associated with it and each and every explanation of every word.

But because of popular culture and a passing interest in racial history and what kind of vernacular and vocabulary has been used to denigrate members of different races, religions and creeds, you would be broadly aware of it I think.

I am trying to put myself in Leko’s position which is ridiculous as a white, middle-class male of a certain kind of demographic.

It means that the positions that you are in to receive discrimination are very few and far between.

But for Leko to come out of this and feel as he does is a sad reflection on the process and how it has been dealt with.

I sincerely hope that nobody looks at this case and thinks that if they found themselves in the same position saying ‘sod that, I am not going to say anything because of how horrendous the process sounds.’

You’d like to think that whoever finds themselves in that situation and feels like something is completely untoward and out of order would feel strong enough and motivated enough to report it to get something done about it.

Marcelo Bielsa was asked at his press conference this week if Leeds had taken any disciplinary action against Casilla and if he would play for Leeds again.

Marcelo said he didn’t know the club position.

But the question of whether Casilla should ever play for the club again is a very difficult one because it’s not just reputation damage on a person but also you are representing the club.

Leeds obviously know Casilla as a human being and they have spent lots of time with him as a person.

Does it reflect badly on Leeds if he plays again for them? It’s a very tough one.

As much as you talk about the sanctions and the ability to deal with it and the very correct way that it needs to be stamped out and dealt with by the FA, in any form of balanced and open-minded society there has to be a chance for rehabilitation and reconciliation.

It’s one act in a long career that potentially taints it or ruins it and it’s up to Leeds to balance that out.

If Casilla is a player and a person that they value and they see this as something that can be addressed from a social responsibility point of view and also from a self-policing point of view of him learning from his mistakes, then that’s something they will have to look at.

But it’s a really tough one because once you start judging players morally then it opens up a whole Pandora’s Box over what you would seem acceptable and unacceptable from your employees.

If you were in an office and someone was deemed to have called what Casilla was deemed to have called Leko then they would sacked instantly.

But there are also instances like the Antonio Rudiger thing.

Rudiger said he heard something and they couldn’t find the evidence but that doesn’t mean to say he’s wrong or that it didn’t happen or anything like that.

The two truths can coexist, that he heard something and was offended by it so he reported it, it was investigated but nothing sufficient was found.

But it doesn’t mean to say it didn’t happen.

We are talking here about racial abuse of a young footballer and we are attempting to discuss the potential of how he feels.

But there is absolutely no space for this in any walk of life in general, forget football.

No-one should feel discriminated against because of where they come from, what their background is or their race, colour or creed, especially in a game of football.

In the grand scheme of things a game of football is ultimately meaningless.

It all puts today's hosting of Huddersfield Town into perspective as Leeds seek a fifth-straight win after last weekend's 4-0 win at Hull City.

It was a tough first half for Leeds at Hull and if Hull had a bit more belief they could have made it a bit more tricky for Leeds.

But Leeds were extremely impressive in the way they went through the gears in the second half.

Huddersfield will have a bit more fight about them because they have understood what their situation is all season whereas Hull seem to have slept-walked into a very tricky period of games and what could possibly happen between now and the end of the season.

But the Leeds that we saw in the second half at Hull should be too much for Huddersfield.

You can talk about blips in form and recovering from them blips but what Leeds have done in recent weeks is very impressive and they need to carry that on.

It's a Yorkshire derby but on form it should be a Yorkshire derby that Leeds put to bed.