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European soccer is having another reckoning over racism – is it time to accept the problem goes beyond bad fans?

Anti-racist programs and fines have failed to end racism in European soccer. Part of the problem is that Black players have little representation higher…

Vinícius Júnior is making the point, but are soccer's governing bosses getting it? Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

After suffering months of racial abuse on the field and off, Brazilian soccer star Vinícius Júnior had enough.

On May 21, 2023, the Real Madrid forward – commonly seen as one of the best soccer players in the world – brought a halt to a game at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium, pointing to fans who were making blatantly racist remarks and gestures.

He later made it clear that this was not an isolated event: “It was not the first time, nor the second, nor the third. Racism is normal in La Liga,” he tweeted in reference to the Spanish top division. “The competition considers it normal, the federation considers it normal and the rivals encourage it.”

As a soccer scholar whose latest book includes analysis of how players, fans and the game’s governing bodies have responded to the Black Lives Matter movement, I believe the latest incident points to how difficult it is to change fan behavior when racism remains institutionalized in the sport itself. While it is true that teams and leagues have made progress in signaling their lack of tolerance for racist behavior, there remain systemic problems working against real progress – not least the lack of Black representation in management positions.

Deep roots of soccer racism

Soccer has a long-established racism problem. Black players throughout the decades attest to both abuse by fans – monkey chants are still common during games in parts of Europe – as well as more subtle forms of discrimination, such as being left out of national squads or overlooked for coaching positions.

Black Brazilians such as Vinícius and stretching back to Pelé have been subjected to racism both overseas and at home. Indeed, as soccer writer Franklin Foer has pointed out, in the early days of Brazilian soccer Black people were not allowed to play for professional clubs or the national team. Even when finally accepted, some of the star Black players like Arthur Freidenreich and Joaquim Prado would straighten their hair and attempt to lighten their skin in the hope of gaining popularity.

While there has been great change since such times, the roots of subtle and overt racism facing Black soccer players run deep – be it in their home countries or playing for prestigious European clubs.

Soccer’s Black Lives Matter moment

While one can argue that there have always been minor attempts to address racism in soccer, it has only really been in the last decade that such efforts have gained steam. And it has been geared very much toward changing attitudes among fans.

For example, in England, the Football Association has long partnered with anti-racist group Kick It Out to create programs and punishments for racist fan behavior. Meanwhile, the Royal Spanish Football Association has codes for applying financial penalties against clubs with racist fans.

Such anti-racist efforts and messaging increased as part of a more general societal reckoning over racism after the killing in the U.S. of George Floyd by a police officer in 2020.

Soccer authorities – usually wary of political statements and quick to punish players who display protest slogans on shirts – by and large allowed players free expression in regard to Floyd’s killing and the protests it sparked.

Indeed, after restarting a pandemic-struck season in June 2020, the English Premier League promoted an active Black Lives Matter campaign. This included “Black Lives Matter” patches on uniforms – although patches were later amended to read “No Room for Racism” – and allowing the taking of the knee before games. Three years on, many players and teams still take a knee before games throughout England.

Soccer players in yellow and blue and white, and a referee in black, all kneel on the grass.
Players and officials in the U.K. regularly ‘take the knee’ before games. John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

But it hasn’t stopped the abuse. In 2020, while players on the pitch were presenting a unified front against anti-Black racism, British Home Office Minister Susan Williams observed that racist incidents had risen for the third year in a row.

Soccer leagues in southern Europe tended to leave it to clubs and individuals to respond to the Black Lives Matter movement, rather than having any blanket policies akin to that of the English Football Association.

But again, it appears to have had little effect on crowd racism.

Italian soccer continues to garner a reputation for racism among its fan base. While examples are numerous, the most recent cases include verbal attacks against Lecce defender Samuel Umtiti and forward Lameck Banda while playing at Lazio, and racists taunts against Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku after he scored against Juventus in a Copa Italia semifinal.

In Spain, after the latest Vinícius incident, football federation chief Luis Rubiales acknowledged that racism was a problem in the league. It would be hard not to: The abuse of May 21 was at least the 10th racist incident against the Brazilian star that Real Madrid has reported to the league this season.

The diplomatic fallout of the Vinícius abuse – Brazil summoned the Spanish ambassador, and Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue was shrouded in darkness in protest – has reignited discussion of what action needs to be taken to stamp out racism in the game.

Spanish police have made several arrests over Vinícius’ abuse. Meanwhile, La Liga has fined Valencia – the team Real Madrid was playing – 45,000 euros (US$48,000) and closed a portion of the stadium for the next five games.

But given how persistent crowd racism has been in the face of numerous attempts to challenge it, I believe it is fair to ask if such disciplinary actions will have any real impact now.


Continued racism in European soccer comes despite a rise in soccer’s “cosmopolitanism” culture. Prior to the 1990s, Black players in the top European leagues were relatively few and far between – especially in countries where nonwhite players would fear being subjected to racist taunts from their own supporters, as well as the opposition’s.

But modern-day fans have long become accustomed to supporting a racially diverse team. So why does racism in stadiums persist? Political scientist and sociologists Andrei Markovits and Lars Rensmann point out in “Gaming the World” that the rise in cosmopolitanism on the field is not reflected in the stands – that is, in European leagues, the makeup of fan bases is not as diverse as that of the team they go to cheer on. Markovits and Rensmann argue that what we are witnessing in the stands is a kind of “counter-cosmopolitanism” in which the “other” is treated with anger and suspicion because they are deemed to threaten the stable sense of identity of some fans.

If the racial makeup of teams is not reflective of the fan base, it also isn’t reflected in management, or among the people who govern the sport.

Analysis conducted in May 2022 found that of the 98 clubs that played in the five most prestigious European leagues – the English Premier League, La Liga, and Italy’s Seria A, along with Germany’s Bundesliga and France’s Ligue 1 – only two had Black managers. La Liga had none, and still doesn’t.

Failing the Sterling standard

As England striker Raheem Sterling noted in a 2020 interview: “There’s something like 500 players in the Premier League and a third of them are Black, and we have no representation of us in the hierarchy, no representation of us in the coaching staffs.”

While there is certainly some merit in the actions being taken in Spain to address behavior in the stands in the aftermath of the latest Vinícius incident, there is an argument that it is too little, too late. Moreover, it does little to address more institutionalized racism in the game. And to date, anti-racism programs and fines have failed to stamp out racism in soccer.

As Sterling noted, “When there’s more Black people in positions, when I can have someone from a Black background … (to) be able to go to in the [Football Association] with a problem I have within the club – these will be the times that I know that change is happening.”

John M Sloop does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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World Bank: Global Economic Growth Expected To Slow To 2008 Levels

World Bank: Global Economic Growth Expected To Slow To 2008 Levels

Authored by Michael Maharrey via,

Most people in the mainstream…



World Bank: Global Economic Growth Expected To Slow To 2008 Levels

Authored by Michael Maharrey via,

Most people in the mainstream concede that the economy is heading for a recession, but the consensus seems to be that downturn will be short and shallow. Projections by the World Bank undercut that optimism.

According to the World Bank, global growth in 2023 will slow to the lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis.

In other words, the World Bank is predicting the beginning of Great Recession 2.0.

You might recall that the Great Recession was neither short nor shallow.

In fact, World Bank Group chief economist and senior vice president Indermit Gill said, “The world economy is in a precarious position.”

According to the World Bank’s new Global Economic Prospects report, global growth is projected to decelerate to 2.1% this year, falling from 3.1% in 2022. The bank forecasts a significant slowdown during the last half of this year.

That would match the global growth rate during the 2008 financial crisis.

According to the World Bank, higher interest rates, inflation, and more restrictive credit conditions will drive the economic downturn.

The report forecasts that growth in advanced economies will slow from 2.6% in 2022 to 0.7% this year and remain weak in 2024.

Emerging market economies will feel significant pain from the economic slowdown. Yahoo Finance reported, “Higher interest rates are a problem for emerging markets, which already were reeling from the overlapping shocks of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They make it harder for those economies to service debt loans denominated in US dollars.”

The World Bank report paints a bleak picture.

The world economy remains hobbled. Besieged by high inflation, tight global financial markets, and record debt levels, many countries are simply growing poorer.”

Absent from the World Bank analysis is any mention of how more than a decade of artificially low interest rates and trillions of dollars in quantitative easing by central banks created the wave of inflation that continues to sweep the globe, along with massive levels of debt and all kinds of economic bubbles.

If you listen to the mainstream narrative, you would think inflation just came out of nowhere, and central banks are innocent victims nobly struggling to save the day by raising interest rates. Pundits fret about rising rates but never mention that rates were only so low for so long because of the actions of central banks. And they seem oblivious to the consequences of those policies.

But being oblivious doesn’t shield you from the impact of those consequences.

In reality, central banks and governments implemented policies intended to incentivize the accumulation of debt. They created trillions of dollars out of thin air and showered the world with stimulus, unleashing the inflation monster. And now they’re trying to battle the dragon they set loose by raising interest rates. This will inevitably pop the bubble they intentionally blew up. That’s why the World Bank is forecasting Great Recession-era growth. All of this was entirely predictable.

After all, artificially low interest rates are the mother’s milk of a global economy built on easy money and debt. When you take away the milk, the baby gets hungry. That’s what’s happening today. With interest rates rising, the bubbles are starting to pop.

And it’s probably going to be much worse than most people realize. There are more malinvestments, more debt, and more bubbles in the global economy today than there were in 2008. There is every reason to believe the bust will be much worse today than it was then.

In other words, you can strike “short” and “shallow” from your recession vocabulary.

Even the World Bank is hinting at this.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/07/2023 - 15:20

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DNAmFitAge: Biological age indicator incorporating physical fitness

“We expect DNAmFitAge will be a useful biomarker for quantifying fitness benefits at an epigenetic level and can be used to evaluate exercise-based interventions.”…



“We expect DNAmFitAge will be a useful biomarker for quantifying fitness benefits at an epigenetic level and can be used to evaluate exercise-based interventions.”

Credit: 2023 McGreevy et al.

“We expect DNAmFitAge will be a useful biomarker for quantifying fitness benefits at an epigenetic level and can be used to evaluate exercise-based interventions.”

BUFFALO, NY- June 7, 2023 – A new research paper was published in Aging (listed by MEDLINE/PubMed as “Aging (Albany NY)” and “Aging-US” by Web of Science) Volume 15, Issue 10, entitled, “DNAmFitAge: biological age indicator incorporating physical fitness.”

Physical fitness is a well-known correlate of health and the aging process and DNA methylation (DNAm) data can capture aging via epigenetic clocks. However, current epigenetic clocks did not yet use measures of mobility, strength, lung, or endurance fitness in their construction. 

In this new study, researchers Kristen M. McGreevy, Zsolt Radak, Ferenc Torma, Matyas Jokai, Ake T. Lu, Daniel W. Belsky, Alexandra Binder, Riccardo E. Marioni, Luigi Ferrucci, Ewelina Pośpiech, Wojciech Branicki, Andrzej Ossowski, Aneta Sitek, Magdalena Spólnicka, Laura M. Raffield, Alex P. Reiner, Simon Cox, Michael Kobor, David L. Corcoran, and Steve Horvath from the University of California Los Angeles, University of Physical Education, Altos Labs, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, University of Hawaii, University of Edinburgh, National Institute on Aging, Jagiellonian University, Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, University of Łódź, Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police in Warsaw, Poland, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Washington, and University of British Columbia develop blood-based DNAm biomarkers for fitness parameters including gait speed (walking speed), maximum handgrip strength, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) which have modest correlation with fitness parameters in five large-scale validation datasets (average r between 0.16–0.48). 

“These parameters were chosen because handgrip strength and VO2max provide insight into the two main categories of fitness: strength and endurance [23], and gait speed and FEV1 provide insight into fitness-related organ function: mobility and lung function [8, 24].”

The researchers then used these DNAm fitness parameter biomarkers with DNAmGrimAge, a DNAm mortality risk estimate, to construct DNAmFitAge, a new biological age indicator that incorporates physical fitness. DNAmFitAge was associated with low-intermediate physical activity levels across validation datasets (p = 6.4E-13), and younger/fitter DNAmFitAge corresponds to stronger DNAm fitness parameters in both males and females. 

DNAmFitAge was lower (p = 0.046) and DNAmVO2max is higher (p = 0.023) in male body builders compared to controls. Physically fit people had a younger DNAmFitAge and experienced better age-related outcomes: lower mortality risk (p = 7.2E-51), coronary heart disease risk (p = 2.6E-8), and increased disease-free status (p = 1.1E-7). These new DNAm biomarkers provide researchers a new method to incorporate physical fitness into epigenetic clocks.

“Our newly constructed DNAm biomarkers and DNAmFitAge provide researchers and physicians a new method to incorporate physical fitness into epigenetic clocks and emphasizes the effect lifestyle has on the aging methylome.”

Read the full study: DOI: 

Corresponding Authors: Kristen M. McGreevy, Zsolt Radak, Steve Horvath

Corresponding Emails:,, 

Keywords: epigenetics, aging, physical fitness, biological age, DNA methylation

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About Aging-US:

Launched in 2009, Aging publishes papers of general interest and biological significance in all fields of aging research and age-related diseases, including cancer—and now, with a special focus on COVID-19 vulnerability as an age-dependent syndrome. Topics in Aging go beyond traditional gerontology, including, but not limited to, cellular and molecular biology, human age-related diseases, pathology in model organisms, signal transduction pathways (e.g., p53, sirtuins, and PI-3K/AKT/mTOR, among others), and approaches to modulating these signaling pathways.

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Martha Stewart Has a Spicy Take on Americans Who Want to Work From Home

This half-baked take might need to stay in the oven a little longer.



Lifestyle icon Martha Stewart has been on a roll when it comes to representing vivacious women over 60. Whether she's teaming up to charm audiences alongside her BFF Snoop Dogg, poking fun at Elon Musk, or starring as Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue cover model, Martha stays busy. 

Her most recent publicity moment, however, doesn't have the same wholesome feeling Stewart brings to the table. In an interview with Footwear News, the DIY-queen had some choice words about Americans who want to continue working from home after covid-19 lockdown shut down offices.

“You can’t possibly get everything done working three days a week in the office and two days remotely," the cozy-home guru said. "Look at the success of France with their stupid … you know, off for August, blah blah blah. That’s not a very thriving country. Should America go down the drain because people don’t want to go back to work?”

Well, that's certainly a viewpoint. A lot to unpack there. Many online were confused--after all, didn't Stewart basically make her career by "working from home?"

Sitting down with The Today Show, Stewart elaborated on her controversial stance. It seems she's confusing "work from home" with a three-day workweek. 

"I'm having this argument with so many people these days. It's just that my kind of work is very creative and is very collaborative. And I cannot really stomach another zoom. [...But] I hate going to an office, it's empty. During COVID I took every precaution. We [...] set up an office at [...] my home[...] Now we're our offices and our three day work week, I just don't agree with it," Stewart tells viewers. 

"It's frightening because if you read the economic news and look at what's happening everywhere in the world, a three-day workweek doesn't get the work done, doesn't get the productivity up. It doesn't help with the economy and I think that's very important."

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