Updated: May 10
“All you can do now is laugh” – Raheem Sterling
Funny how things change. Football has adopted a welcoming nature to encourage young players into the game, to build a wall to protect their young players from the media and abuse. Extensive campaigns to show that “yes we are a community, yes we accept races of all kinds”. Refreshing yet perfunctory. The issues in England alone is evident withal discreet. Without reducing the issue that persists in Brexit Britain, let’s look further out into Europe, specifically Italy.
Alexa, Play Drake – I’m Upset.
“Kean knows that when goals are scored he just has to think about cheering with the team, hugging them all together. It was an episode and even he knows he could have done something different” – Leonardo Bonucci
Once the world’s favorite defender ladies and gentlemen. Disgusting. Some background on this situation is warranted to give us a clear view on the build up to Kean’s unorthodox celebration.
Prior to his appearance at Cagliari, Juventus’ young striker Moise Kean was given a chance to make the difference in their home match against Empoli over the weekend. The 19 year old was substituted on at 69 minutes and after just 3 minutes on the pitch, scored the winning goal. A headed flick from Mandzukic saw the right foot of the Italian born youngster strike the ball into the net. Having proven himself of having the “Juventus mentality” and being goal scorer, Allegri had no reason to not start him in the next league game away to Cagliari amidst the injuries of both Ronaldo and Dybala. Having been bombarded with monkey noises from the opposing fans, the teen celebrated his 85th minute strike in front of the home fans which consequently led to a crescendo of abuse.
Now. From this saga, I deduce that a brave young man stood up for not just himself but those who obtain his skin colour. He stood up against racism and portrayed what a black kid from Italy is capable of. Now, fellow team mate and defender Bonucci seems to think otherwise. He believes that Kean was partly to blame for the racial abuse uttered towards him. The problem not just in Italy seemingly portrayed through their own defenders words. How on Earth can someone’s celebration justify racial abuse?
Before a player can be comfortable in playing for his team, he must know this team is behind him. Lol. Let’s break down what his Manager had to say on the matter.
“You need great intelligence to deal with these situations and should not go to provoke people.” – Max Allegri
“I didn’t hear anything from the stands, as I was focused on the game”.
Alright Max, Blaise Matuidi is said to have heard it too however, Ignorance is often bliss. Allegri’s post match words included this line we often hear from Managers after matches where racism was evident. We have already have already heard this line from Gareth Southgate during the international break, how many more managers will throw this around when their own players are subject to abuse? It is ridiculous.
“That, of course, does not mean the idiots in the crowd and the way they reacted should be justified.”
Facts. One thing Bonucci fails to acknowledge is that racial abuse isn’t and should never be warranted as reactionary.
“As always in life, there are idiots who do stupid things and ruin it for everyone else,” he added. “I don’t think talking about it all the time helps. I don’t think halting play helps, because not everyone in the stadium did that."
Max the diplomat. Call me drastic, call me biased but severe consequences need to be implemmented in order to work towards eradicating the issue. However, if the societal roots are not tackled prior, we cannot expect change within a system that, that same society built. Italian Deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini stated he was against stopping or abandoning matches in the instance of racial abuse, as this would be “a defeat for football.”
The issue of racism is a phenomena that is disregarded in Italy as a whole. It is reflected in their handling of the situations that arise in their league. There have been famous strides taken by black Italian league players which date back to 2013.
Mario Ballotelli vs Inter and Napoli.
The guy pretty much feared no one and nothing; to see him cry as a result of grotesque racist abuse, it completely highlights the depth of the issue.
“In England, on a football level, I never saw anything like this. In France, I’ve not seen much but no one is like Italy. In Italy, it is really extreme… I don’t think they understood how much this really hurt me. Luckily, I have a strong character, but you can really destroy a person” – Ballotelli
Kevin Prince Boateng vs Pro Patria.
Even a simple friendly match cannot escape the deeply rooted racism that dwells within the Italian support of Pro Patria. Forced into a reaction, Kevin Prince Boateng blasts the ball into the stands where the abuse hailed before walking off. The tie ended after 26 minutes of consistent monkey chants and gestures. Walking off with Boateng was his captain at the time and the rest of his team mates. Former AC Milan Manager Massimiliano Allegri states, “I’m disappointed and saddened but I think it was the right decision not to return to the field out of respect for our players and all other black players.” Good start this time Max, but here we go with the diplomacy. “We promise to return [to replay the game], and we are sorry for the club and players of Pro Patria, but we could not make any other decision. I’m sorry for the families and children who had come here to enjoy a beautiful day. I hope this can be an important signal.”
Kevin Constant vs Pro Patria
The Guinea international blasted the ball into the crowd before he left the pitch after 34 minutes. In retaliation, Milan was forced to send on a substitute and warned that the game would be abandoned if another incident occurs.
“We need to use the cameras, find those who are doing it and punish them. It’s very simple, identify them and not one-year ban or two, just give them a lifetime ban. We’ve got the technology, it can be done if the authorities want to. The problem is, they don’t really want to.”
Probably the most worth while thing Allegri said in his post match interview after yesterday’s dreadful act. Enough is enough regarding racism in the Italian league. Bigger steps are being taken, for example just recently, Inter Milan had to play 2 matches behind closed doors in response to the vigorous racism shown towards Napoli defender Koulibaly during their tie. We can do this continuously and globally till kingdom come, but the matter on racism worldwide stems from the deeply rooted issue of society. Change society and we can change football, change football and we can influence society. Works both ways UEFA.
Alexa, Cue the Monkey Chants.