The fallout from a social media spat over allegations of racism continue to roll through the world of athletics.
Following Wednesday’s Olympic champion Adam Gemili’s claims that presenter Frankie Dettori said “Go back to Africa” as he left the green room at the World Championships in London, BBC Sport’s Richard Conway reports that there has been a change of guard in the office.
We are reporting that two individuals – Michael Montano, the US 200m runner, and Dantley Davis, the Jamaican 400m runner – will be leaving the social media platform to go silent for a period of time.
Montano was the original Twitter user who shared his frustration at members of the media leaving the athletes’ changing rooms as they were carrying out interviews with the media and via social media.
He was subsequently supported by former British athletics stars Linford Christie and Ben Johnson – who before they retired had both received suspensions from athletics for breaking anti-doping rules.
It is understood that Montano had a series of discussions with officials about his complaints and now understands that his Twitter account should be wound down.
Davis however was eventually unmasked by a sample of his Tweets, showing him in a Jamaica shirt suggesting they should be spoken about in the context of the national anthem.
The Tweet, which has since been deleted, said: “I don’t think I was the only one that thought we needed the national anthem to be sung on camera…nevermind that Adam Gemili and Steven Gardiner were scheduled to run in races, and they had to be interviewed.”
Montano then decided to criticise Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell, who he claims is also African-American.
Powell responded to the feud by labelling Montano a “thug”.
In a statement, Powell said: “There’s something called decency. You respect black people, or you don’t respect them. Once you can see that, then you won’t need to throw stones, because you respect them.
“You should look at it like ‘I don’t want to mess with anybody, we have been through so much’, but we should treat each other with respect. You can never respect a person who treats other people like that.”
Montano has removed a further comment he shared, which appeared to blame his critics for his distaste at being filmed in such an intrusive way.
“As much as I appreciate everybody’s opinion, since when do some of y’all say anything good about the good shit just to make it go viral? Seriously??!!'” he said.
“I’m getting mad at these video games”
Montano responded to the backlash on Thursday morning in his own Twitter thread.
“My argument never was against colour of skin but about what I perceived as the negative connotation of the words. I deeply believe every person can hear what they want to hear and hears what they want to hear and my reasoning was purely based on the binary.
“I use it in the context of some people comparing black men and women to animals (including myself) and how my opinion is not taken seriously by the people commenting. Some simply don’t understand what the word means and are offended. They cant or will not try and actually understand what I was saying.”
That is a departure from the behaviour of representatives of other senior athletes who in Montano’s case, reacted to the criticisms by saying: “He should explain himself, but it appears to me someone is playing the race card.”
So what is the rule about the use of the word “Africa” in any context and what does it imply?
When a woman wears black in Paris, white people in London and the two are in the same place, the old adage is that she’s considered white. It is written in the Irish constitution that anyone holding dual citizenship of the UK or a Commonwealth territory, wherever it is, is a citizen of Ireland. This also applies to both Jamaican and the rest of Africa.
But how can it be understood on a completely contextual basis or what it means, beyond the superficial understanding of “what happened in Scotland?”.
“It’s not an insult, it’s black,” says author Julian Foxcroft in his book about colour theory. It is “a term we have invented, it refers not to the colour of the skin of the individual but the colour of the institution: the character, structure and worship. It invites ideas about proximity, primacy and spirituality.”
It was brought into use in Europe in the late 18th century as a term in a system of self-fulfilling prophesy. It has inspired white colonists, wherever they may be, to consider themselves to be the “last people” in a place. As in “We’re the only