No matter how many significant strides have been made, racism is unfortunately still a massive part of soccer. It’s rooted in the culture and those like Vinícius Júnior, who are playing away from their home country, suffer the most.
In a crucial match against Valencia on Sunday, the Real Madrid star was subjected to racial abuse from Valencia supporters. Play was stopped during Sunday’s match for nearly 10 minutes, as the Brazilian international pointed out supporters who were racially abusing him with chants of “monkey.”
An investigation into the racial abuse suffered by Vinícius at Mestalla was launched. And according to Spanish police, seven people have been arrested in connection with two separate racist incidents. Three of the arrests made—in Valencia— were in connection to multiple racist incidents that took place during Sunday’s La Liga match. “Additionally, another four arrests were made in Madrid in connection to a January incident where a mannequin wearing Vinícius’ jersey was hung from a bridge outside of Real Madrid’s training facility
As per NBC News, the league has made nine formal complaints over racial abuse towards Vinícius in just the last two seasons alone. Many of those cases have been shelved, but not this time. While the racism that Vinícius suffered has those on a global scale filled with indignation, the 22-year-old forward acknowledged in a tweet that isn’t the first time nor the second nor the third.
“Racism is normal in La Liga. The competition thinks it’s normal, the Federation does too and the opponents encourage it,” wrote Vinícius in a teetwet that has been translated from Spanish to English. I’m so sorry. The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi today belongs to racists.”
Não foi a primeira vez, nem a segunda e nem a terceira. O racismo é o normal na La Liga. A competição acha normal, a Federação também e os adversários incentivam. Lamento muito. O campeonato que já foi de Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano e Messi hoje é dos racistas. Uma nação…
— Vini Jr. (@vinijr) May 21, 2023
Vinícius’ tweet now has nearly 70 million views.
These incidents are all too commonplace for a sport that brings so many unique cultures and backgrounds together. Unfortunately, this likely won’t be the last time a racist incident of this nature takes place, but both clubs have shown with their actions that this will not be tolerated. Those fans have since been banned from the stadium and are now in police custody.
[ESPN, NBC; photo from Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports]