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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  December 21, 2021 4:30am-5:01am GMT

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this is bbc news, the headlines: the omicron variant is sweeping across the united states — already accounting for three quarters of new infections in the country. this is a very significant jump from a week ago, when about 13% of the new infections in the us were omicron. in the uk, the prime minister has said no new covid restrictions for now — but he insisted the government would take further action if needed. there had been speculation the rules in england might be tightened, following reports of splits among senior ministers over whether to take action. the number of people killed in the philippines by typhoon rai has risen to more than 375 — with the military now helping the desperate relief operation. with no power, no communications, and very little water.
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now on bbc news, it's hardtalk with stephen sackur. 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 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?
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patrice evra, welcome to hardtalk. thank you. what has happened to you? �*cause as a professional footballer, when you saw journalists you tended to turn the other way, you didn't really want to talk to journalists. 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? maybe i'm more open, more ready, i think emotionally, more open, getting rid of that toxic masculinity. i met the woman of my life to help me to open myself to the world.
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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. and, 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. in 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. right now you are a guy who seems 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, you know, fighting, that's the way igrew up. i hate using that word but when i was going
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in the pitch it was like 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. �*cause you were born in senegal but you were raised outside of paris. and it was tough. your dad left home when you were ten, one of your brothers ended up a drug addict and ended up 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
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in my biography, i'm lucky. i think without the football i would probably be dead or be injail right now. and i'm not 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. 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.
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so i need to fight for them. i needed to play and do something, a job and having money so everything was possible then. i would try to make — using any opportunity to get money. there was something that happened in your childhood that i know 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. 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. and, she would say, "patrice, you are 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?"
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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 also to tell to my mum. and when i read the book, it was finished one year ago, 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'd been put in school
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farfrom 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, to take that train, so every time he will cook a nice dinnerfor 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 and he was trying to touch me. so we fight for 10, 15 minutes, i don't even know the time because for me like an hour or an eternity. and was touching himself next to the bed. and, 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,
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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 about people and they say 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. i feel shame about myself, i feel guilty and i feel 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? with this particular individual. and i say, "no." are you sure? and i say, "no." you lied? i lied. and at that moment i was like, 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,
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is not me, it's for the other kids outside there. and you should come out and you will feel better and hope those persons will stop abusing another 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, 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're not feeling well. but you have different manager like i had, for example, alex ferguson, he would support right now, straight away, if i wasn't feeling well. because you've got
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some managers that care about the player. but the club, in general, they not care about the mental health. if you're not good enough, they're going to buy another player. let's talk about one other aspect of the pressures you are under. being a black footballer, facing vile 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 these habit to call you by your colour. and they like to say because they use the term nero, you mean 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. you know, it doesn't make any sense. so 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. and they come close to me,
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they asked for a picture. i was surprised. and his son start touching my skin. he didn't understand, he think i was, like, just dirty. so sometime i also call it ignorance and i was the only black player in all of sicily. so, of course when i was 17 years old, when i was playing, and people were throwing banana on my face, when i used to play, doing a monkey noise every time when i got the ball, but this was motivating me. you, certainly later in your career, took a stand. you weren't prepared to accept it. the famous occasion was in 2011 when you were playing liverpool. luis suarez used words which i'm not going to use but he 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.
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yeah. was there at any point that you thought, you know, this isn't 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, like, threats and letters from people injail saying when we come out we're going to cut your throat. manchester united received so many letters, i had security for four months, 2a hours, people were following my car. but when i was most disappointed was when i see the liverpool player, because like you say, they had been banned, coming out on the pitch with support of luis suarez face. that's when i was, something is wrong. because actually i wasn't the victim anymore, i was just a liar and why i came out with that? so like you say, i won't give up because i'm not a liar, this is what happened. i saw luis suarez when i played the champions league
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final with juventus. i shake his hand. but racism is about education so we can talk about it many hours. well, we will. butjust one more thought which goes back to what we were discussing at the beginning about anger. there were times when for you it wasn't about education, it wasn't about addressing the underlying causes of racism. sometimes you did choose to fight. and ijust wonder, when you look back at the patrice evra who, for example, late in your career when you were playing for marseilles and some of your fans at an away game in portugal started abusing you and 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've been built, shaped. i need to survive in the street. what about self—control? does not work. we're not prepared for that. we're from the street. it's not like i had any...
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but you'd had a career in the game then. you are an experienced professional. i'm a human being. and i've got feelings, 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 in himself. 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 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 it be really difficult for me to bring out that violence. what we see today is that 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
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like taking the knee before games, tying themselves to the cause of the black lives matter movement. you in the past have 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 it 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 and will ask your mum and dad, "why they doing this?" it's their power to explain the reason why 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 the taking knee, but if it is
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going to change, no. and we can change things, but i keep talking about that. a project didn't even start. hang on, 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," and they shut down the project. but the racism is for so many years and it's notjust football. you mean the will isn't there to really tackle racism? yeah, the real will is not there. like i say, i will tell you maybe 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're going to say, "0h, we put them in a box because i'm racist."
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we need to understand the reason why. i've got friends that say, "patrice, you know "you my friend, but my daughter and my son "will never be with a black person" because my dad or my grandparents won't 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 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, you're sent, "the easy solution
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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 — 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 in this interview about the clubs you played for, particularly manchester united. but you are also a star for the french national team, played more than 80 times. and i think i'm right in saying in the 2010 world cup, you were ca ptaining your country. yeah. 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.
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because when you play football, you're just passionate about the game. you don't know what's behind all the politic. 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, as a captain, say, "no, we shouldn't try." 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 wasa 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 receive a lot of racist letters. even some people,
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they were pooing in a box, and 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 had 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?" they get to every picture, and they found out 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 to qatar and then there's the idea we might play it
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every two years, all 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 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, "so to the goalkeeper, next time you do a betterjob." it is ruining everything. money 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
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and they're 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. that's why i do on my social media and i received some comment, "oh, 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
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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 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.
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hello there. it's been a cloudy and chilly start to the week. things will change. from midweek, we'll start to see atlantic air coming our way. that means temperatures will be rising, but we're also going to find some rain. but what about christmas? well, i'll try and answer that question later on. we start, though, cold in many places on tuesday morning, particularly in the clearer skies in scotland, with a frost in the north. we could see some pockets of frost across some western parts of england and wales, but the prospects of some sunshine during tuesday, which will be good news on what is the shortest day of the year. it's the winter solstice. these are the sunrise and sunset times, but, of course, after tuesday, the days do get longer. we do have some sunshine across northern parts of scotland, some sunshine at times coming through across wales and western england, but more cloud further east.
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still that blanket of cloud in northern ireland, southern scotland that will push its way into the central belt and make it feel quite chilly here. temperatures on the whole similar to what we had on monday, and near—normal, really, for this time of the year. but it's from wednesday that the weather starts to change because high pressure that's kept it quiet for so long is moving away. and instead, we've got a big low out in the atlantic. that's going to push bands of rain our way. but we start wednesday with a widespread frost in scotland, england and wales. some early sunshine, but it clouds over from the west. the wind starts to pick up. we've got this band of rain mainly affecting northern ireland, pushing into wales and south—west england and then into parts of scotland later on, bringing in some milder airfor western areas. but for many parts of the country, it's still another chilly day. that band of wet weather moves northwards and eastwards overnight, and then with low pressure still out to the west, another band of rain sweeps around that as well. so we're going to find some wet weather moving northwards and eastwards again during thursday. could stay wet for most of the day across the northern half of scotland.
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elsewhere, that rain does clear through. we get some sunshine following on behind. and with a south—westerly wind, just look at what it does for the temperatures — widely in double figures across northern ireland, england and wales. as the winds fall light, though, overnight, and if you're going to be travelling into christmas eve, it could be misty with some patches of fog around in the morning. and then we have that battle between the milder air and colder air that's in the north. now, for many, it looks like we'll stay in the milder air for christmas day, but if there is going to be a white christmas, at the moment, it only looks likely in northern parts of scotland.
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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. tackling omicron — president biden is due to outline new measures, as the variant sweeps across the us, making up nearly three—quarters of new cases. boris johnson faces calls for clarity over possible new covid restrictions as businesses fear finances could be hit over the christmas period. a jury in new york considers its verdict in the sex trafficking trial of the british socialite, ghislaine maxwell. japan carries out the death penalty on three prisoners who'd been on death row for several year — in the first executions since 2019.
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and covid won't stop play. the english premier league will continue over christmas

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