This week, as one brave man stepped forward, thousands on social media condemned, insulted, abused, and even threatened to change football clubs over a single tweet or retweet. In a sport where sportsmanship is growing extinct and violence seems to be ever increasing, Milan has attempted to change the tide of hatred, particularly amongst our own fans. Not asking people to change their religious or personal beliefs, simply to be willing to have tolerance and respect for other human beings so that football can be for everyone. What does it mean to be tolerant?

Tolerance simply means respect

In December of 2020, Milan launched their #RespACT campaign. While the hashtag combining "respect" and "act" could use a little work to appeal to most football fans, the campaign is important if you live on the planet earth. The goal is to promote equity, diversity, and inclusivity within sport. When this plan was announced, Gazidis said:

"Equity, diversity and inclusion are the very cornerstones of the Club's purpose and long-term vision as well as fundamental human values that can help to drive positive social change. AC Milan is for everyone, just like football.

"We will do everything possible to mitigate prejudice and discrimination of all kinds and in all circumstances, to nurture more positive attitudes and behaviors within our game and our community."

Making a statement

The plan was to use Awareness, Education, Prevention, and Collaboration to drive social change. When this campaign was announced, there were several specific initiatives outlined, including promoting racial sensitivity education, fight against hate speech, policing our stadium environment for intolerant behaviors, and collaborating with other clubs and organizations to fight against racism. 

Since that time, there have been other initiatives as well. For example, last year, Milan were the first to sign the manifesto against online discrimination and hate speech called "Parole O_Stile" (a play on the Italian words for "hostile words.") This manifesto is a simple list of 10 things we can all do to promote respectful and civilized behavior.

Milan has long promoted sport for all through Fondazione Milan, promoting sport for those with disabilities, economic disadvantages, and more throughout the world. Respect and tolerance are in our DNA even more than the Champions League is, and cannot be influenced by poor referee calls, either.

Discrimination, intolerance and hate have no place in football

What do all of these words, campaigns, and manifestos mean? They simply mean that we should all treat one another with respect. To be tolerant does not mean that you need to be the same as someone, accept their beliefs or way of life, or forego your own beliefs. Tolerance does not mean that you have to condone or even agree with people who may be different than you. It means that you respect other human beings for who they are: human beings.

Within tolerance, there is no male, female, black, white, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, disabled, or any other physical, social or cultural differentiation. Tolerance simply means I see you, you are a human being, just like me.

Tolerance is particularly important in the beautiful game, a sport that transcends all cultures, languages, genders, nationalities, and more. Wars have been paused to play a game of football. People can set aside their differences for 90 minutes and play on a level playing field, too. 


As the official AC Milan Twitter account retweeted Australian footballer Josh Cavallo's tweet announcing that he is gay, many were supportive of both him and the club for normalizing the humanness that should just be normal. Sadly, it took a lot of courage to make this statement, but I hope that he and others find courage in the support that so many others gave to him. Some fans did not get the memo that it is 2021, and it is fine to be anything you want in football, but it is no longer okay to hate.

Yesterday, in Italy, a bill was passed in the lower houses of parliament that would make violence against women and those in the LGBTQ+ community a hate crime, with higher punishments for those convicted. Many are focusing on the LGBTQ+ portion, which is very important, but Italy statistically also has a very high rate of violence against women. Both Serie A and AC Milan have attempted to raise awareness of violence against women, but a little lipstick on the cheeks of footballers once a year has not done anything to stop the violence, sadly.

Italy and Serie A lag way behind the human race

Italy and Serie A are also known for their tragic levels of racism, particularly in the stadiums. Despite the fact that Milan has been fighting against racism for some time, racial abuse continues to persist online and now again in person. One of the biggest factors in the continued prevalences is that there is an overall lack of awareness of what racism even is

In 2021, people are still unaware that differentiating someone based on something they cannot change, such as race, ethnicity, gender, etc. is discrimination. Discrimination leads to intolerance. Intolerance breeds hate, and hate breeds violence. None of those things belong in football, or in the human race, actually. We don't have to all be the same to love or play the beautiful game. In fact, our differences make us better. We do not have to share the same nationality, culture, religion, gender, orientation, or belief system to recognize that each one of us are human beings. That is what it means to have tolerance.

This post inspired by Josh Cavallo, human being and footballer

Our next match is
Serie A Week 11
Roma vs. Milan
Sunday, October 31 20:45 CET (3:45pm EDT)*
*note the difference in time due to European Daylight Savings Time ending

Tolerance Tolerance Reviewed by Elaine on 1:00 AM Rating: 5
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