The case of Balotelli and 5 shameful episodes of racism in sports

Even though we are in the 21st century, it does not mean that the episodes of racism are completely over. And sports, unfortunately, are a scenario where they usually occur.

Mario Balotelli during a match against England.

Mario Balotelli during a match against England. / Photo: Football.ua

LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

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Leer en español: El caso de Balotelli y 5 vergonzosos episodios de racismo en el deporte

The most recent episode occurred last week when the popular footballer Balotelli, defending a ball in the corner kick zone, fans of the opposing team, Hellas Verona, began to “hoot, as do the monkeys,” according to La Vanguardia.

Balotelli, annoyed, decided to throw the ball towards the platform, then go to the locker room "threatening to refuse to continue competing," said the same medium. As if that were not enough, one of the managers of Hellas referred to the situation and the way the player acts as a “clown”, reason enough for the sanction imposed to prevent him from entering any stadium in the next ten years.

However, the Balotelli episode is not the only recent case of racism that has been experienced not only in football but in other sports.

Bulgaria vs England

This episode occurred on the date of the qualification for Euro 2020, on October 14. The game, which ended with a win in favor of the English, had to be stopped twice before racist songs to black players. The scandal was even commented by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who asked for harsh sanctions.

At the time, the prime minister said that "racism has no place in football or anywhere else." Given what happened, UEFA imposed a heavy penalty on Bulgaria, which consisted of playing a game behind closed doors, "a second punishment in suspense", according to El Mundo, and a fine of 85,000 euros.

Also, according to a statement from the Bulgarian Federation, the sanctions could have been worse but they were not “thanks to the enormous work of its administration and its legal advisors (...) added to the efforts to fight against racism, xenophobia, and intolerance”, according to the statements collected by the same media.

The gestures towards Son Heung Min

One of the stars of Tottenham was involved in a strong clash in the match against Everton. The striker collided with the Portuguese André Gomez, who suffered an ankle injury. Before the moment of confusion, many fans blamed the entrance of the Korean, who received a red card and had to leave the field, but not before bursting into tears.

From the stands, several Everton fans began to “narrow” their eyes, a gesture usually used to make fun of players of Asian origin. According to Peru21, this gesture, "has been for years one of the most persecuted and punished behaviors by the various sports organizations."

It also happens in baseball

In May 2019, the Chicago Cubs were forced to identify and ban for life a fan who made a hand gesture, which is associated with racism. The gesture, as explained by La Vanguardia, "consists of an OK signal, but because of the position of the fingers, it refers to the initials WP, of 'white power', something very offensive."

The gesture was made when the commentator and former baseball player Doug Glanville, an African-American, made an intervention for television. In this way, as ESPN explains, the club took care of the situation, affirmed that “there is no place for that in our society, in baseball and it certainly has no place in Wrigley Field. The person responsible for that gesture will never be welcome again at Wrigley Field. ”

The Rangers against racism

Another episode in which racist gestures were presented was in the game that the Texas Rangers against the Detroit Tigers, last August. Well, during that game, an amateur made racist and offensive comments in addition to derogatory gestures to a Hispanic family.

Jessica Romero, one of those affected, posted her annoyance on Facebook, attaching the photos where the fan made derogatory gestures. The team immediately offered them tickets to any game played in Texas throughout 2019, according to CNN.

As a way to reiterate its commitment to avoid such actions, the team said that “it is committed to providing all our guests with a safe and enjoyable experience and we are very sorry that this family has been subjected to this offensive behavior in Saturday's game. There is no place in Globe Life Park in Arlington for this type of behavior to occur,” as Marca recalls.

Also read: Goodbye Valverde? 3 trainers who would replace him

In cycling too

Frédéric Magné was fired from his position as director of the World Cycling Center, for his "terror regime."

The scandal broke out when the AFP media collected several testimonies where it was claimed that the multiple world champion on track was considered "violent and manipulative." In addition, within the witness accounts, Magné discriminated against and made racist comments to African cyclists to whom he made comments to "return to Africa." In addition to the above, and according to La Opinion, Magné also did not respect Muslims, completely ignoring their food requirements.