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Racism in Football: Spanish Attacks on Brazilian Soccer Star Attract Widespread Condemnation, Shines Light LaLiga Passivity

By May 26, 2023No Comments
Vinicius Jr.

Africans leaving in both Europe and North America reacted to abuse targeting Brazilian footballer Vinicius Jr. by discussing the dehumanizing effect of racism. Valencia fans made monkey sounds targeting the Brazilian footballer who plays for Spanish giant Real Madrid.

In the football game that ended 0-1 in favor of Valencia, Vinicius Jr. also got a red card, prompting criticism from different commentators including the LaLiga President, who suggested the Brazilian did not seem to be doing enough to help authorities address the racism.

While the LaLiga President, Javier Tebas has since apologized for his statements, commentators in Spain originally suggested Vinicius Jr. was being a cry baby, to which people of color reacted by narrating their experiences of how dehumanizing racism can be.

Soccer Football – La Liga President Javier Tebas speaks to Reuters about Vinicius Jr and racism – La Liga headquarters, Madrid, Spain – May 24, 2023 La Liga president Javier Tebas during an interview with Reuters. REUTERS/Guillermo Martinez

Adam Maina a Kenya that has lived in Canada says the things people do to persons of color forced him to update his mindset so that he looks at everybody with disdain, a thick skin and a constant smile that is almost always fake.

“You are out cycling, and someone throws a banana peel at you or slows down when they are driving to shout, “go home monkey” followed by expletives,” says Maina.

The effect of such actions according to Maina is that these experiences dehumanize you.

“You cannot connect with people unless they are of your color, you have fake modesty and civility and unfounded guilt always looking over your shoulder,” he says.

According to some Twitter users, Spain is one of the most racist countries in Western Europe, which is why Vinicius Jr. has endured constant racism abuse on the pitch over the last two football seasons. By Sunday, Vinicius Jr. had reported nine instances of football fans racially abusing him over a two-season period.

In addition to Spanish authorities doing nothing, there had been a general suggestion that Vinicius Jr. should endure the abuse and focus on the football, something the Brazilian refused to do. Following Sunday’s game, he finally started to get the support, as even Brazilian President Lula da Salva called on both the world football body FIFA and the Spanish football leaders to address the racism.

Kelly Cristina the daughter of Pele, considered one of the greatest footballers to have ever lived, called on Gianni Infantino, the FIFA President to address the racism as well.

“On the day of my father’s funeral, FIFA President Infantino told me he will ask every country in the world to name a stadium after my father. I think that is beautiful. However, how much more powerful would it be if my father’s legacy was not a stadium name but a movement against racism. True action against racism, which does not allow Vinicius Jr. to go through today, what my father, went through in 1958,” she tweeted.        

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