Racism has been a major issue in European soccer, well, since ever.
It’s mind-boggling to us on this side of the pond that racism is so blatantly flaunted at athletic events. Unfortunately, Europe never really went through a Civil Rights movement like we did in the 1960s and 70s here in the U.S.
Monkey chants and thrown bananas are the norm in many parts of the continent.
Heading into this month’s Euro2012, many were concerned about the reaction Polish and Ukrainian fans would have toward black players. Well, as expected there have been racist claims by black players, but luckily none of the doomsday scenarios have taken shape – yet.
However, that still doesn’t make it tolerable.
And even worse, countries who utilize the skills of these black players are getting in on the act too.
Italian newspaper, Gazetta, probably the most widely read publication in Italy ran the above photo in its newspaper Sunday. It depicts Mario Balotelli, Italy’s Ron Artest, climbing Big Ben in the form of King Kong. Yes, that’s right the newspaper depicted him as a huge gorilla. Hmm, that won’t stoke the monkey comparisons.
“We can honestly say it is not one of the best efforts by our great cartoonist. In these times we need a bit more moderation, caution and good taste. But we have always fought against racism and condemned booing against Balotelli as unacceptable.”
Right, don’t boo him, just throw bananas at him and act like an ape.
Stay classy, Italy.