A show of solidarity is underway for Brazilian striker Vinicius Junior (23-Real Madrid), who has been the victim of racism on the soccer field.
All Real players wore jerseys with Vinicius’ number 20 on them before their match against Rayo Vallecano in the 36th round of the 2022-2023 Spanish Primera Liga at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, Spain, on Sept. 25 (EDT) to protest and condemn racism.
Fans chanted Vinicius’ name as Real players took the field, including “captain” Karim Benzema, who wore an armband with an anti-racism message.
“Support Vinicius” and “No to racism” signs were also visible throughout the stands. The home fans stood and applauded Vinicius in the first 20 minutes. The away team, Rayo Vallecano, held up a banner that read, “Let’s get racism out of soccer.
After Vinicius scored the winning goal, Brazilian forward Rodriguez, like Vinicius, performed a gesture of protest against racism by raising his right fist and bowing his head.
His sending-off from the previous game was overturned, but Vinicius, who was sidelined with a minor knee injury, said after the game, “Thank you very much. It gives me strength.”
Vinicius was the victim of a vicious racial slur against Valencia at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium on April 22, which caused the game to be stopped for nearly 10 minutes. Throughout the game, many fans shouted derogatory comments about his skin color, including “black monkey.”
Real coach Ancelotti said, “It’s something that can’t be overlooked. When racism happens during a match, you have to stop, clean up and move on,” he said. After the game, the ‘victim’ Vinicius took to social media to say, “This is not the first time. Racism in the Primera Liga is now a daily occurrence. Spain is a racist country if you look at the reaction of the secretariat,” he wrote on social media.
Brazil, Vinicius’ home country, took action on a national level to protest and oppose the racism directed at him, including briefly turning off the lights of a statue of Jesus in Rio de Janeiro.
The outpouring of support against racism and for Vinicius also prompted Spanish Primera Liga president Javier Tebas, 63, to take a different stance.
“Neither Spain nor La Liga tolerates racism, and it’s unfair for Vinicius to accuse us of it,” he said before the solidarity move. “We have reported nine cases of racist insults this season, eight of which were directed at Vinicius. Cases of racism are extremely rare and we are committed to eliminating all of them.”
“Before you criticize and insult La Liga, understand what we’ve been doing,” he later said, seemingly attacking the victim, Vinicius.토토사이트
However, as the solidarity movement gained momentum, Tebas was interviewed by BBC-ESPN and others and said, “I didn’t mean to attack Vinicius, and I apologize if it came across that way. I apologize.”
It’s not that La Liga hasn’t done a good job, as Tebas said, by taking measures to eliminate racism on and off the field, but it’s hard to say it’s doing a “good job” when the head of an organization treats a victim of racism who has been deeply hurt by it. It’s too late, but it’s time for a sincere apology to Vinicius, along with fundamental measures to prevent it from happening again.