Sport has come a long way since dusk settled over the Estadio Olimpico in in Mexico City 51 years ago next October when Afro-American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood, heads bowed, on the rostrum, each raising a black-gloved hand in silent protest at continuing racial discrimination in their homeland. Or has it?
Smith and Carlos, gold and bronze medallists in the 200 metres, both wore black socks and no shoes and Smith wore a black scarf around his neck as the American national anthem was played.
As they left the podium at the end of the ceremony they were loudly booed by the Americans in the crowd.
The world was shocked and the International Olympic Committee outraged by this strikingly symbolic gesture of solidarity. On the direct command of dictatorial President "Slavery" Avery Brundgae – himself an American - they were booted out of the Olympic Village, the United States team and the Games. Sent back home, they were vilified and ostracised. But they had made their point.
It would be nice to think that their rebellious action changed things. Maybe it did in some aspects of society and sport. But alas not all.
Just three years ago another black American sports star, Colin Kaepernick was the first National Football League (NFL) player to protest during the national anthem when he "took a knee" to draw awareness to race issues in the US including lack of equality and police brutality.
The following year, hundreds of other NFL players, sat or linked arms during the anthem for similar reasons, a move that drew the fury of NFL owners, advertisers and of course a fulminating President Donald Trump who almost tore his straw-like coiffeur out by the roots. That decision to kneel spurred conversation around the role athletes play, or should play, in society and politics.
Kaepernick has not played much since but he became a symbol of something much bigger and more important than sport.
What is heartening is that since the Smith-Carlos protest there has not been a single reported incident of racism among spectators or competitors in their sport, athletics.
Nor has there been in the other most integrated of sports, boxing. At least not since the then British world middleweight champion Alan Minter outrageously said of his Wembley challenger, Marvin Hagler in September 1980: "I am not letting any black man take the title from me."
Not only were Minter’s words rightfully condemned as racist, he proved a ridiculously bad prophet, being stopped on facial cuts in three bloody rounds by a furious Hagler amid frighteningly violent scenes outside the ring as beer bottles and cans rained down on the American.
Had Minter made such a comment today he surely would have faced a long banishment from boxing. As it was the British Boxing Board of Control seemed far more concerned with the mini-riot and barely waved an admonishing finger at him.
And that seems about all that is happening in the most racially-infested spectator sport of all. Football.
It remains the one sport where racism, the ugliest word in the sporting lexicon, has yet to be eradicated. Indeed some say it is becoming even more virulent both in Britain and much of Europe.
The England left back Danny Rose has hit the headlines by stating that he can’t wait to be done with football as a result of the lack of action against racism. He was rightly forthright in expressing his frustrations with a game that has made little to no serious attempt to implement meaningful change.
As London’s Metro newspaper, among others, has pointed out, football is now at a watershed moment. The time has come for players, and not just black players, to force the reluctantly limp hand of football’s administrators.
Players walking off the pitch en masse in protest is a good start. The England captain Harry Kane says he will lead the team off if it happens again in an international.
More managers should be instructing their skippers to do the same with the full backing of their clubs, Football Associations, UEFA and FIFA when players are subjected to abuse because of the colour of their skin. Otherwise it will fester and never go away.
Rose’s comments came after he was one of several England players who were subjected to racist slurs from the crowd during a Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro. He was also drawing on his experience during a match in Serbia in 2012 during which he had stones thrown at his head.
On the whole he has received widespread support but the fact he had to speak out shows just how deeply ingrained racism is in the so-called "beautiful game". He is not alone: Raheem Sterling bravely called out parts of the British media for real conversations to start about racism in British football.
Why is it that by and large it is only the victims of the abuse leading the way in speaking out?
Where are the shilly-shallying lily-livered governors if the game? England manager Gareth Southgate showed leadership and support towards his players after the Montenegro affair, but there are too many managers and players not showing what solidarity means.
Recently, Juventus forward Moise Kean was subject to horrific racist abuse in their league game against Cagliari - he was barraged with monkey noises throughout the match. He celebrated his winning goal in front of the Cagliari fans only to have his team mate Leonardo Bonucci intimate that Kean was in the wrong for the abuse by "provoking" them.
Back in the UK anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out has reported that there had been an 11 per cent increase in discriminatory abuse in English football in 2017-2018 with racism making up 53 per cent of the reported abuse. This does not include grassroots football, where there is abundant evidence of the disease.
It is clear that football authorities still lack the bottle to really address the problem, with paltry fines and stadium bans.
Offending nations and clubs should be much more heavily fined in terms of millions, not thousands, and ordered to play at least their next half a dozen home matches behind closed doors. But even that won’t cure it.
It is good that footballers black and white alike, are speaking out. Yet it is not just about education, as the likes of Southgate and the former black England star John Barnes a victim of many a banana-throwing incident, believe.
There must be stronger policing, heavier punitive action, including longer jail terms, for the racists who permeate both society and football.
Bigots and racists are scumbags but alas football still tends to harbour them.
And to be honest, I cannot see it being kicked out in my lifetime.