Legendary Usain Bolt was labelled a slave by television presenter David Koch during an Australian show called the Sunrise Breakfast that was broadcast on the Seven Network on Tuesday.
Koch unapologetically stood by his silly slavery joke when he said “slavery there’s no slavery anymore. It’s a free world. People have rights. Basically, the use of the word slavery is a reference I’ve used to defend players who want to trade clubs or change jobs in Sport.”
Bolt Has Switched From Running to Football
Bolt, who retired from athletics in 2017 with eight gold Olympic medals to his name, is currently pursuing a football career. The 32-year-old Jamaican is training with Australian Side Central Coast Mariners in the hopes of securing a contract.
The former sprinter caught the attention of many when he impressed and scored a brace in his first professional football start for Central Coast Mariners on Friday against Macarthur South West United. He once made it known that his dream is to play for Manchester United.
The Sunrise Breakfast panel consisting of sports reporter Mark Beretta, co-host Sam Armytage, and Natalie Barr were having a discussion about the Jamaican-born star when Kock asked: “So the Mariners sell him for money, they make a lot of money out of it?”
Beretta responded by saying it was a “win-win.” You keep him, great. You sell him, so be it. That’s the tough world of professional football. This is when Koch said: “Who said slavery was over, anyway. No.” This left the panel shocked and lost for words.
Kock Unapologetic About His Labelled a Slave Comment
Kock said that his labelled a slave comment was clumsy. The 62-year-old presenter went on to say that he should have explained it better when they were chatting about how good it is for Bolt and the Mariners at the news he was receiving offers from European clubs.
What Kock is not aware of, or ignorant about, is that slavery didn’t end! Today slavery is not necessarily about people owning other people. Although that is still happening, it is more about people being controlled and exploited. This is what is known as modern slavery.
A study by anti-slavery.org found that there are an estimated 40.3 million people in modern slavery around the world, 10 million of whom are children. There are 24.9 million people in forced labor, 15.4 million people in forced marriages, and 4.8 million people who are being sexually exploited.
Modern slavery comes in different forms from forced labor, debt bondage, and human trafficking, to descent-based slavery, child slavery, and both forced and early marriage.
With ESPN reporting that Bolt has been offered a two-year contract to join Maltese champions Valletta FC, and the Olympic champion not happy with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority handing him a drug test notice, and Kock’s slavery comments, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if Bolt decides to leave Central Coast Mariners and sign for Valletta in Europe.
“So guys I’ve retired from track and field looking to become a footballer but look at this, how am I going to get a drug test today? I’m not even a professional footballer yet. Seriously.”
“So I asked the lady, ‘Why am I getting drug tested when I haven’t signed for a club yet?’ and she said they told her I’m an elite athlete so I have to get tested.”