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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  November 16, 2021 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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this is bbc news. we'll have the headlines and all the main news stories for you at the top of the hour as newsday continues — straight after hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk from manchester, i'm stephen sackur. of all the football—mad cities in the world, few can compete with this one, home to two of the world's biggest clubs, united and city. for all of football's global appeal it's wrestling with big problems, from financial greed to residual racism. my guest today is former
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manchester united and france star patrice evra. now he's done something most footballers never do. he's opened up about the emotional scars he's carried through his career. so why has he done it? patrice evra, welcome to hardtalk. thank you. what has happened to you? because as a professional footballer, when you saw journalists you tended to turn the other way, you didn't really want to talk to journalist. but now here you are, you're a massive star on social media, you've just written a searingly honest memoir. what has changed for you?
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maybe i'm more open, more ready, i think emotionally, more open, getting rid of that toxic mass community. i met the woman of my life to help me to open myself to the world. because i think before that i think i was like a robot, like a machine, just a winning mentality, a survivor. being abused in my childhood, living in the streetjust like, surviving, i hate people from the street when they call themselves a gangster. i'm not a gangster, i'm just a survivor. you know, born in this world with my colour is already a disadvantage. so all of that make me who i am. know resilience and you will never give up. and under a minute you've just given me a little bit of a brief insight into your whole life. let's take it step—by—step.
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right now you are a guy who seemed very much at peace with yourself. but you were not, you very clearly were not. even on the football pitch, you looked like a young man who was angry, who was frustrated. now you look back, is that true, was there a lot of anger fuelling you? yes, anger, fire, the dark side. everything was about fighting, that's the way i grew up. i hate using that word but when i was going in the pitch it was i going to the war for me. i was ready to bleed for the team, for my team—mate, for the fan, for the manager. so i had that passion and that adrenaline and the football pitch was my way to get out all that fire inside my body. let's go back even before you were known as a professional footballer on the field of play, let's go back to your childhood.
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you were born in senegal but you were raised outside of paris. it was tough, your dad left home when you were ten, one of your brothers ended up a drug addict and dead very young. you got involved in petty crime. in some ways it's a miracle that you didn't fall out of the system. when i look at it, when i talk about my life in my biography, i'm lucky. i think without the football i would probably be dead or injail right now. i'm ashamed to say it because that's a fact, that's the truth. like i say, i had to survive. i'm not proud about things i've done in the past. when my brother died because he was a drug addict, that's when i knew unfortunately, well, fortunately and unfortunately for my brother, i knew i would never touch any drug.
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but you did deal drugs for a while? i did some marijuana because when my dad left there wasn't any authority. and for my mum to feed — because it one point we were 13 kids at home. 13? yeah. i've got 2a brothers and sisters. my dad never watch tv or use the remote, he was a busy man. and 89 nephews and they all call me santa. so i need to fight for them. i needed to play and do something, a job at having money so everything was possible then. using any opportunity to get money. there was something that happened in your childhood that i know it has taken you many years to talk about. something that wasn't about you being defiant, being strong, running on the street, but actually about you as a very vulnerable boy. it happened when you were 13 years old.
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why have you decided to tell the world about it now? i decided because i had an extra push with a woman of my life and i was talking about toxic masculinity and to open myself and ifeel safe. she is such a good person and funny, positive but she said "i can feel something wrong with you." and i didn't want to know the reason but we watch a documentary about the paedophile and she looked at me and she said, "what's wrong?" and i said, "nothing, nothing." and i burst into tears. and after that i tell her everything. she was the first person, i didn't say it to my mum, to my dad, to any of my brothers and sisters. so when i talk to her i said finally, i think it's time to tell it to my mum. and when i read the book, it was finished a year ago,
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just three months ago called the writer i said we need to change something important. to answer to your question why did it, it's not for patrice, i'll survive. i'm 0k. we don't want to go into too much detail, it's not fair, it's not right, butjust to give our viewers and listeners just a sense of what happened to you. you were temporarily staying with the head teacher of a school, you been put in school far from your own home, partly because they had a great sports programme. and the teacher promised to offer you accommodation to look after you and in fact groomed you. exactly. everything seemed like, perfect. i don't have to travel, took the train, so every time they will cook a nice dinner for me, i could play nintendo, some video game and every time i was coming and going to sleep, he was coming, dark, it was really dark and i was in bed
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and he was trying to touch me. so we fight for ten, 15 minutes, i don't know the time it was for me like an hour or an eternity. and was touching himself next to the bed. one day, he succeeds, when i say succeed, he pulled my pants down. it is hard to talk about. we now know that other talented, young footballers, boys at professional clubs, some in the united kingdom have been abused. who knows? it may still be continuing in some places for some young people. it will. and it is and i received many messages already of people saying something similar happened to me and i encourage them to go out and speak. but it's not easy. and i hope they not feel like i feel all my life.
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i feel shame myself, i feel guilty, ifeel as a coward. because when the police came back when i was 2a and they say we had some complaints about other child... with this particular individual? this particular individual. and i say, "no." are you sure? and i say, "no." you lied? i lied. and at that moment i said i'm letting down so many other child. that's why i think i wasn't ready mentally. but now i am ready and that's why i send this message, not me, it's for the other kids. you should come out and you will feel better and those persons will stop abusing other child. maybe it says something also about the nature of the dressing room, the mentality that footballers have to have. you can't really show vulnerability, you can't discuss your emotional troubles when you are at the elite level in a professional sport like football. but that's why i'm like,
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in football no one care about the mental health. like, no—one care. is that true of you and your career? in italy, in manchester... all through my career you need to deliver. we are like toys, product, you need to perform, if you not feeling well. but you have different manager like alex ferguson, he would support right now, straight away, if i wasn't feeling well. because you've got some managers that care about the player. but the club, in general, they not care about the player. if you not good enough, they going to buy another player. let's talk about one other aspect of the pressures you are under. being a black footballer, facing vial outright racism. perhaps most striking early in your career when you were in italy, when it wasn't even just coming from the stands, from the crowd, it was even coming from some of your own team—mates. i think they have this habit
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to call you by your colour. they like to say because they use the term nero, black, it doesn't mean the n word. it's fine, i was like mum gave me a name, she didn't call me a colour, if you call me nero, i will call you white. it doesn't make any sense. i didn't let this happen. but also that story when i just learned and it was a man with his son and they look at me. i was like ok, i'm already famous. they come close to me and asked for a picture. i was surprised. and his son start touching my skin. he didn't understand, he think i was just dirty. sometime i also call it ignorant and i was the only black player in all of sicily. of course when i was 17 years old and people were throwing banana on my face, when i was playing, doing a monkey noise every time when i got the ball, but this was motivating me. you, certainly later
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in your career, took a stand. you weren't prepared to accept it. the famous occasion was in 2011 when you are playing liverpool. luis suarez use words which i'm not going to use but used words towards you which infuriated you, the referee intervened, it led to a big inquiry and it ended up with suarez being banned for a number of games. you then got a lot of hate from liverpool fans. yeah. was there at any point that you thought, you know, this is it worth it. i'm standing up for what is right and i am getting so much trouble back that i might walk away from this. i'm smiling but it wasn't funny on that time. i received threats and letters from people injail saying when we come out were going to cut your throat. manchester united received so many letters, i had security for four months, 2a hours with the people were following my car.
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but when i was most disappointed was when i see the liverpool player, like you say, humming out on the pitch with support of luis suarez face. that's when i was, something is wrong. because actually i wasn't a victim anymore, i was just a liar and why i came out with that? so like you say, i wouldn't give up because i'm not a liar, this is what happened. i saw luis suarez when i played the champions league final. i shake his hand. but racism is about education so we can talk about it many hours. well, we will. one more thought which goes back to what we were discussing at the beginning about anger. there were times when for you it was about education, it wasn't about addressing the underlying causes of racism. sometimes you did choose to fight. ijust wonder, when you look back at the patrice evra who, late in your career when you were playing for marseilles and some
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of your fans at an away game in portugal were abusing you in using racial words, you snapped. you actually used physical violence. yes, yes, because that's the way i grew up, that's the way i been built. i need to survive in the street. what about self—control? we are not prepared for that. we're from the street. it's not like i had any... you had a career in the game then. you are an experienced professional bull like that. i'm a human being. it's not because i need to lead by example. sometimes if you hurt me that's my way to answer. i'm not proud of it but every one have a dark side. do you still have that in you today? that determination at some point to fight back, to use violence? no. no, but i will say no, but i don't know, if you put me
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in any circumstance, because i don't want to lie. and now, i'm in peace with myself, maybe also the trauma, i didn't ever speak out of many things, at peace so be really difficult for me to bring out that violence. what we see today is there are a generation of footballers that followed you who are perhaps more political on social media. they are more determined to stand up, to use their voices, to express their opinions. partly that's seen in a collective action like taking the knee before games, tying themselves to the cause of the black lives matter movement. you in the past and spoken out against some of the gesture politics, saying that uefa, the european football body, when it was trying to get you involved in their respect in their kick—out programmes. you didn't really believe in that stuff. do you believe in taking the knee? um, yes and no. yes, because i like the fact when kids watch the game
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and you ask your mum and dad, why they doing this? it's their power to explain the reason they're doing this. but is it going to change something? no. but i support any cause. because i had enough of people pretending they want to stop against racism, they're pretending. but when you touch their pocket, that's when they act. that's why i had enough. so i'm for taking the knee, but if it is going to change, no. and we can change things, but i keep talking about that. a project didn't even start. let's take this slow. so you're tying the failure to act against racism to the money in football and to initiatives like the effort to create a super league for the elite clubs in europe? i'm struggling to see the connection. i see the connection because i was so surprised the fact the way everyone was "you need to stop it,"
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they shut down the project. but the racism is for so many years and it's not just football. you mean the will isn't there? to really tackle racism? yeah, the real will is not there. i will tell you something really sensitive — i'm not sure we should ban racist people. because because which message they going to get? they're not going to learn. they can say, oh, we put them in a box because i'm racist, i get back. we need to understand the reason why. they tonight other friends that say, "patrice, you know "you my friend, but my daughter and my son will never beat with a black person" because my dad on my grandparents want to accept it. so that's when i go back to the education. what do you think the football authorities could do now? or is it more about what the wider society can do particularly for example, the social media platforms, the huge tech companies who run these sites where abusive, vile, racist comments can
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be sent so very easily to professional footballers? is it football's problem or society's problem? society, society. but i say football is a massive platform to spread a positive message for people to stop being racist. and we're talking about social media. i will never ask any help to any social media because if you get abused, the easy solution is to not be on social media. of course they have a way to block comment, to block people, but it's one thing they need to explain to me is why we get about covid—i9, we get a flag straight away. in the racist abuse, sometimes you feel they let racism spread on their platform. so they can't do something. we've talked mostly about the clubs you played for, particularly manchester united. but you are also a star for the french national team and i think of right and saying
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in the 2010 world cup you were ca ptaining your country. it didn't end well. it actually ended up with you and a whole bunch of other players on strike and banned from the national team after the world cup. you have indicated that over years you experienced racism inside the french national setup. why didn't you go public? why didn't you walk away then? that's a really good question. because when you play football, you'rejust passionate about the game. you don't know what's behind all the politics. of course i wanted to stop playing for the national team for many reason. because every time... but why did you agree to be captain? because i was captain of my friends, not of my country. and that's why we strike for a player. that's why i could, like,
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as a captain, say, "no, we shouldn't strike." because i didn't want to let my friend down. and that's why many people after that, they were in my face, they say, "patrice, you're so stupid. "they're going to bring back the guillotine just for you." but i'm like, i'm ok. because i'm always all my life thinking about other people than myself. what kind of racist attitude did you encounter when you were representing france? we received a lot of racist letters. even some people, they were pooing in a box, saying, "go back to africa with your player." but i didn't found out those letters when i was playing. the only thing was when the french president of france was coming to visit us, we at a table where we were always sitting at the same place, so they were changing the chair to make sure it was two white players next to the president. and when i say that, everyone was like, "what he's talking about?"
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to they get to every picture and they found out that everything i was saying is real. many black players, like, "patrice, what is going on?" i was like, "guys, this is not our home, "play football but you're never going to feel at home." when you look at the game today, you look at, for example, the way in which the world cup first of all is going qatar and then there's the idea we might play every two years, of that appears to be driven by money. you look at the saudi sovereign wealth fund taking over newcastle united, you look at even manchester united, your team run by an american billionaire family who have extracted vast amounts of money out of the manchester united brand. do you think greed is in danger of ruining football? yes, of course. but it already ruined the football. even — i'm talking about the betting company. now, people, they don't come in the stadium
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to support their team. they make sure they come because they want to win money. they boo us when i see some people that were like, "patrice, even if you win 3—1, i bet were going to win three, "to the goalkeeper next time you do a betterjob." money is ruining everything. football is for the poor people. it's like when you used to play in the street. but now we become a game for the rich people and they are ruining it. in a way, as i hear you talk, i'm thinking to myself, here's a professional footballer who's made a very good living out of the game who's basically telling me, "you know what? "football really isn't that important and we are far too obsessed with it." do you think we are? yes. i'll be honest. if you told me, patrice, i wasn't happy playing football, i'm happy now. and you know, i would prefer if you asked me if i wasn't a footballer, i would be a doctor, i would wish to be a doctor to saving lives with up that's why i do
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on my social media and i received some comment, on my god, my dad just passed away. and i watched one of my two year videos you smile, you make me laugh. this is more important than winning the champions league. you have kids. yes. what if one of your kids had the talent and wanted to be a professional footballer, would you advise them against it given everything we've discussed in this interview? i would say, "son, i hope you're ready "because it's a dark world, it's a dark world." and that's what i say to every kid when they want to become a football player. i say it's not about having the talent of cristiano ronaldo or messi, it's here, you need to be strong mentally. when i signed for the french national team, i decide to play for the french national team and not for senegal. i didn't know it was political, i was just playing because it's nice, i grew up in france, so the advice i would give them is if you can do
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something else, do it, but if you ready to receive a lot of bullet, like i did, do it. it's such a beautiful game out there. patrice evra, we got you smiling at the end and i thank you very much indeed for being on hardtalk. thank you. you're welcome. thank you for having me. hello. well, tuesday promises to be a dry day across most of the uk. it's going to be cloudy and mild once again. and, in fact, not much change expected for the next few days. if anything, the temperatures
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could rise even further. so why is it so mild? well, on the satellite picture, you'll see this big weather front here. this is very much where the jet stream is. thejet stream is pushing along the weather fronts, but it's also separating the mild air to the south, which has engulfed the uk, indeed much of europe, and is keeping the cold air at bay. so we are to the south of the jet stream in that milder air. but scotland is a little closer to the weather fronts in the north atlantic, so that does mean some of that rain grazing the western isles through the course of the early hours. elsewhere, it'll be dry. and where the skies will have cleared, perhaps 4—5 celsius at dawn, so a little on the nippy side, but generally mild. now, that weather front does move into scotland, northern ireland, perhaps the lake district and the north of wales, but the rain will be light and fleeting and will complete fizzle away. east and south, it's going to be dry. perhaps a bit of brightness, too. and the same pattern continues into wednesday. so high pressure in the south with that mild air coming in,
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weather fronts in the north of the atlantic. and again, they are bringing this time some showers to parts of scotland, whereas in the south, central, southern areas of the uk, should be a fine day — in fact, a very bright day, particularly eastern areas and along the south coast. temperatures a little fresher on wednesday, 10—12 celsius, but then they rise again as we head into thursday. now, around this high pressure, we'll run along a current of mild air on thursday. and as it engulfs the uk, the temperatures could actually rise even further with a bit of sunshine. so, yes, a bit of cloud and rain here in the northwest of scotland, but widely i think the mid—teens. and look at that — 16 in aberdeen. wouldn't be surprised if it gets up to 17, 17 this time in november — extraordinarily mild for eastern parts of scotland. shouldn't last for too long, perhaps into friday. friday could well be another very mild day, with the mid—teens across the country, but i think as we head into the weekend, it's going to turn a lot, a lot cooler. so a very mild week,
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particularly mild towards the end of the week, and i think the weekend and beyond is going to turn quite a bit colder. bye— bye.
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welcome to newsday, reporting live from singapore. i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines: on his way home: an americanjournalist sentenced to 11 years in prison in myanmar is released. the government tells the bbc their reasons in an exclusive interview. translation: our foreign policy is to keep good _ translation: our foreign policy is to keep good relations - translation: our foreign policy is to keep good relations with - is to keep good relations with other countries and we also consider humanitarian reasons, and on these grounds be granted amnesty and deported him today. the uk's raises its terror threat level to �*severe' meaning an attack�*s highly likely as police say they believe the man killed in the liverpool explosion made the bomb himself. president xi and president biden prepare for key talks as tensions grow over trade, taiwan and climate change.

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