Prince William talks to white footballers about the importance of self-belief

Prince William was famously keen about “solving” racism in football for a time. He’s the Football Association president, which means “going to football games” counts as work for him. Lightweight, but sure. In any case, William used his position to try to talk about mental health in football, and racism in football (and the combination of both). What did William actually do? He did some events where he hung out with footballers – exclusively white footballers – and he once said that he’s “bored of racism.” He seemed to believe that if he just came out and said “stop being racist,” that would solve everything. It did not. His lack of real work on the issue blew up in his face last year, when Italy beat England in the Euros, and British people began hurling racist abuse at the young Black footballers on the team. You would think, hey, maybe William should do something specific and public to show that he’s an ally, that he’s standing up for Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka publicly. Nope.

William has done another keen interview with footballers, but he made sure to only speak to two white footballers, Harry Kane and Declan Rice. Now, the host of this show, Game of Fives, is Kelvyn Quagraine, a Black man. Considering the topic is “mental health in football” and they’re talking about the loss at the Euros last year, surely it would have been a good moment to invite Rashford, Sancho or Saka? Nope.

During their conversation, the royal, who is referred to as just ‘William’, credits football with teaching him that ‘disappointment is a part of life.’ He said: ‘You learn by playing a number of times and many other things in life that disappointment is part of life and how you handle it is crucial. Handling some of those really disappointing England results in the past, that was hard, I found that really difficult, because again the same euphoria that we had comes crashing down. You feel high and all together, and then normal life just gets on again.’

Elsewhere, William spoke about self-belief and self-doubt, saying: ‘The difference between the two and what route your life takes…Self belief is so crucial, but self doubt is always lurking on…on the both sides of everyone’s lives, no matter what walk of life you’re in. If you take the wrong path or something happens beyond your control, you can end up in the self doubt quite quickly, and then things can get much harder.’

The prince also recalled playing four simultaneous games of football with his entire set at school – around 60 pupils – using multiple balls. He spoke about playing football at school, recalling it as ‘complete carnage and chaos’, adding: ‘That’s what led me on to wanting to play more and more football. I loved it.’

[From The Daily Mail]

Oh, so William loved the violent chaos of youth football? Interesting. The most telling comments are about self-belief and self-doubt though – while I agree that self-belief is important, self-doubt is also important. Self-doubt drives people to seek excellence, self-doubt drives people to learn more, to reach higher, to work harder. It’s a false dichotomy, to set up self doubt as the enemy of self belief, they can and should coexist in each person. And what does William have to believe in? He has unearned self-belief. He has the conceit of a white man born into unexamined and unacknowledged privilege. He’s so privileged that he didn’t even think to invite the footballers who were victims of racist abuse onto this show?

Photos courtesy of Cover Images, Avalon Red.

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36 Responses to “Prince William talks to white footballers about the importance of self-belief”

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  1. thatgworl says:

    LOL what a dink.

    • Moxylady says:

      Ted Lasso – a fictional American character who doesn’t understand football- has done more for mental
      health and diversity and acceptance in sports than the heir to the throne / Prince of Whales. Just saying.

      • Becks1 says:

        I was thinking of how Sudeikis showed up the Ted Lasso premiere, after the Euros, with a shirt saying Jadon&Marcus&Bukayo.

        That seems like a more public show of support for those players than anything William has done.

        And yes I know he tweeted something after the Euros about how the racist abuse must end, but no one cares about his tweets. Something as simple as what Jason S. did would have been so much more powerful (even if it wasn’t at an official event, if William was papped in that shirt or something similar, etc.)

  2. ThatsNotOkay says:

    All of this is just words. “Support our mental well-bring.” That’s meaningless. MEANINGLESS! This is so infuriating. Turn your meaningless words into ACTION, Peggs-a-lot. How are YOU going to address the many, many mental health issues plaguing people across the globe? What sort of fund, with your own self-financing and daily involvement, have you set up? What do you DO all day?

  3. Beverley says:

    Well, in the prince’s defense, everyone knows that only the white footballers matter. Anyone can see that. 🙄😒

    • goofpuff says:

      I mean he is bored of racism so he would prefer to not talk about what racist things he does.

      • Sue E Generis says:

        What are you talking about? You know racism was solved the moment he said he was bored with it. We never have to talk about it again in any context again. /s

    • Cessily says:

      The world is tired of the William and how absolutely uninspiring he and his wife are. The numbers don’t lie.

  4. Lucy says:

    I saw some of the clip Scoble tweeted and just couldn’t get through it. For William to act like he’s got anything in common with professionals, period, is ridiculous, much less professional sports players.

    I didn’t even know they were supposed to be discussing racism, it wasn’t apparent from anything said. Just, ugh, I can’t. It’s too late for Will to have any genuine perspective change on any of these issues, he’s a colonizer from birth and sees no reason to change.

  5. Eurydice says:

    Wouldn’t the host be in charge of which footballers would be invited?

    • equality says:

      Ordinarily, I would think so, but I bet when a royal is on something they control who they appear with.

      • molly says:

        Any decent PR person would step in and say “we need some diverse perspectives if you want my person.” The RF staff absolutely has the power to do that, and the fact that they didn’t means they either don’t know or don’t care how it’s perceived.

        Which is honestly a shame, because William having these conversations, on camera, is so much better than kicking out some generic, pre-recorded speech video that no one cares about. These could be really impactful, but they shoot themselves in the foot by not thinking beyond their own preference and privilege.

    • Kingston says:

      Seriously? You believe that? When KP and BP and the entire royal apparatus have a vested interest in ensuring that the image of PRINCE OF WALES is pristine clean? No surprises allowed!!! Why would they take any chances with footballers whose views are unknown?

      The best the host was allowed to do, I would guess, is recommend some names, given that the royals prolly wouldnt have a clue who is who. And, of course, the host as black token, would recommend some white dudes because he would think, rightfully, that Bulliam would be more comfortable with them. But I wouldnt be surprised if he was actually TOLD to make sure the guests are white dudes. With pro-monarchy views.

      • Eurydice says:

        Well, I just thought to ask a neutral question and I don’t know anything about the host or if he’s a “black token.” But my totally unsubstantiated feeling is that everyone knows the RF are racists and they make accommodations for them because it would cause too much trouble if they didn’t.

      • Saucy&Sassy says:

        Eurydice, ITA. I also wonder if there would be any black/brown footballers who would consent to sit down with Fail and speak about mental health?

  6. Becks1 says:

    Did they talk about the racism at all, or only “mental wellbeing?” If it was the latter, i would say it was a choice to only invite two white players as a way of avoiding the racism discussion altogether. But even though we’re Harry Kane fans in my house, I’m not going to listen to it lol.

    William wants all his work to be like these events – where he can meet with athletes, feel like he’s equal to them, and then go home and watch more football or whatever.

    ETA but to clarify, avoiding the racism aspect is just stupid and….weak….because experiencing racism is of course to impact someone’s mental health.

  7. Jan says:

    When he wanted support in Jamaica, he asked the Jamaican football player to visit on his trip there, not that it helped, because he still got his walking papers.

  8. Amy Bee says:

    When William talks about mental health it just sounds like words to me. I don’t think he believes anything he says. He and Kate got into this because Harry wanted to be an advocate for mental health and they thought it would be good for their image to go along with it not because it was something they believed in. Now Harry’s gone and they’re stuck parroting these catch phrases that make no sense. In fact he and Kate did everything they could to breakdown Harry and Meghan so that they would toe the line. Thankfully they valued their own mental health more than staying in the Royal Family.

    • booboocita says:

      He’s trying to parrot Harry on mental health. But he doesn’t understand the subject, or its impact and implications, and what’s more, he doesn’t really care. So it comes out as word salad, and does nothing for anyone or any cause.

  9. Lissen says:

    Well, “just William”, a.k.a. Prince of Wales, might I just draw your regal attention to a football club in Wales (you’re Wales, they’re Wales, you’re talking to footballers, they’re football), Wrexham Red Dragons. They actually do mental health. They hold weekly mental health meetings, called Dragon Chat, to which their supporters are invited.

    Also love how you pose next to the Black host.

    • Nic919 says:

      And American and a Canadian are doing more for mental health in footballers than the state funded prince of wales.

  10. Kingston says:

    So this black host just allowed himself to be used, huh?
    I would bet my life that he was told who to invite as his guests, for Bulliam’s benefit. And of course, as the black token, he lends credence to the facade that not only is there no more racism in football, but that racism in football and mental-health in football are mutually exclusive realities.

    Effing bunch of poseurs.

  11. PaperclipExtraordinaire says:

    These people have no idea what the word ‘optics’ means, and the idea of self-awareness is completely alien to them. JFC…

    • A says:

      Exactly! Even if you give everyone involved the benefit of the doubt and say there just trying to stress the importance of mental health. The fact that baldingham is trying to relate his experience of playing football to actual professional athletes is ridiculous! Being a spectator and watching your team lose is not the same as being the player (I hope that at some point during this little pr excersise prince pegged shows he has enough common sense to point this out although given his track record😔).

    • molly says:

      I didn’t listen to the conversation, but based on 30 seconds of wiki research, these two white guys seem to have very similar backgrounds: born in the London suburbs 25 miles apart, two parent families, big success as a kid, played for UK teams their whole careers, 20-something years old, etc.

      AT LEAST try to find *some* different lived experiences.

  12. SIde Eye says:

    The headline LOL. I love this site.

    When the racial abuse was directed at the Black players playing for his country, he had an opportunity to stand up for what’s right and SAY SOMETHING. He chose not to, which speaks volumes about who he is at his core. Which is why none of us are fooled by the assclownery he and McButtons partake in when visiting Black countries – dancing, playing Bongos, posing with Bob Marley statutes. FFS DO SOMETHING when it matters. They don’t get it. At this point they don’t want to get it.

  13. Emily_C says:

    Will looks… odd in most pictures. Not just the ones chosen here. There’s something off about him. Like he’s not really paying attention, and trying to put on a show of being present but he’s very bad at it. Charles gives this vibe sometimes too, but not as often, and he’s better at faking.

    • SarahCS says:

      I think he comes across that way because everything about his life is so far removed from (almost) everyone else on the planet. Diana tried to expose her children to regular people in the real world but with her gone that stopped. He lives in a world where people bow and curtsey to each other in private. He never has to worry about paying the bills to keep the lights on or if someone remembered to buy milk for the kids to have breakfast tomorrow.

      None of which is an excuse, he has had every opportunity to learn about the lives of the people he will ‘rule’ one day and he’s chosen not to.

      So yeah, he is bad at faking it.

  14. Jaded says:

    William needs to get his head out of his arse long enough to meet with football management to actually formulate a PLAN to seek out and punish racists on the teams and take a firm public stance against racism in the fans. At the beginning of each and every game, either the team captain or manager should make a brief speech about how players and fans alike should take a moment to think about the negative impact racism has on society, and to consider the concept of “sportsmanlike behaviour” before they open their racist pie-holes.

    The NHL in the US recently signed a player who admitted, after one of his fellow students ratted him out, to bullying and using racist language towards a black student with developmental disabilities when he was at school. He was signed to the Boston Bruins on Friday but when the bullying and racism was revealed he was immediately made ineligible to play in the ENTIRE professional league. THAT is how you deal with racism in sports.

    • SIde Eye says:

      I agree with everything you just said @Jaded! You did more in one post to find and encourage solutions than William has done his entire life. What a do nothing he is.

    • Lady D says:

      Bettman did the right thing??? Must be a Christmas miracle.

  15. Concern Fae says:

    Racism is boring, but it does incredible harm, so we do need to fight it wherever it shows up. And by boring, I mean predictable and small minded. Also, you get exactly the same tropes and descriptions of whatever people are being hated on in that moment as well as the same exploitative wrongdoing.

    There was a meme going around with an incredibly racist screed. The kicker, it was a congressman, on the floor of the House in the 1920s, talking about – the Finns. Yes, immigrants from Finland. The haters are the same no matter who they hate, which reveals them as fools.

  16. jferber says:

    SO this is William’s version of “stepping up” now that he’s inherited everything he’s ever wanted. Pay to play or pay me ENOUGH to play. He will always be a failure and a disappointment and will always fall short.

  17. Feebee says:

    Unbelievable. What would this man know about taking the wrong path in life? His life is absolutely mapped out and there is no wrong turn available. He has people massaging his self-belief constantly.

    He and his handlers can’t see how racist they are. They’re not going around saying the n-word but the constant exclusion, the indifference, and lack of acknowledgement etc speaks volumes.

    He’s not the only one but he is one of a few with this massive platform and yet he squanders it at every opportunity.

  18. jferber says:

    Feebee, yes, but I’d argue that his “wrong turn” IS in squandering every opportunity. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. He may go through the motions (very sporadically), but he doesn’t care about the purpose or symbolism of what he does. He has no true understanding of what his role is and no true passion to do good and make the world a better place. In other words, you can’t turn a William into a Harry.

  19. ShazBot says:

    Nice tan.