Soccer match racist jeers between AS Roma fans and AC Milan players on Sunday again call into question just how much abuse a player can be expected to tolerate.
On Sunday, AS Roma football (soccer in American English) fans began to make what was described in the UK’s The Guardian as “monkey chants” to taunt Milan striker Mario Balotelli. He is black but was born in Sicily and granted Italian citizenship in 2008 at age 18.
“I am Italian, I feel Italian, I will forever play with the Italian National Team,” he said at the time.
In January, another AC Milan player Kevin-Prince Boateng had enough of the racist taunting. When the black player responded to racist jeers during a match by walking out of the game, reporters said that some fans reacted with applause.
His teammates joined in the protest, and the game was over. Unfortunately, the match was then awarded to their opponents.
In Sunday’s game, AC Milan’s chance at the Champion’s League was at stake. Mario Balotelli could do little but signal his anger by putting a finger over his lips.
He didn’t walk off. The game was halted briefly so that officials could scold the crowd for the racist jeers.
Then play against Roma resumed.
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri again condemned the racist culture of Italian football that allows fans to feel free to indulge in that kind of jeering.
“People should go to the stadium to see two teams battling each other on the pitch, not this sort of thing…Above all, the culture in Italy is backward….tonight we had racism, laser beams flashed in the eyes of players and an interrupted match” is The Telegraph’s translation of Allegri’s statement after the game.
The coach clearly demands an end to soccer match racist jeering.
[soccer photo Pressmaster via Shutterstock]