Originally Written & Published for The Daily Rant
If you are like me, a total soccer amateur, you probably don’t know who Moise Kean or Leonardo Bonucci is. You might know where Turin is though. Italy’s only true royal city isn’t just famous for Gianduja, a hazelnut and chocolate paste at the origin of Nutella or the claim to have invented aperitifs (cheers!), but the city is also home to one of the most decorated soccer teams in recent years, Juventus Turin.
The Old Lady, how the team is also known among soccer fans, has had an impressive run domestically with seven successive league titles and the team is packed with international superstars, including Cristiano Ronaldo. Not that I really care, but I figured throwing in a few Wikipedia stats has never hurt anybody.
Back to the main story.
It’s kind old news in new-world times, but I still can’t understand WHY this incident hasn’t really made much noise outside of the soccer/sports world, and HOW Italy, the USA, the Premier League, the NFL, the world just doesn’t seem to learn from it.
On April 2, 2019, Juve’s 18-year-old prodigy Moise Kean scored the game-winner with 5-minutes left on the clock and did this:
Because for the most part of the game Kean was the target of abuse and monkey chants from the opposing crowd. Right after that, things got chaotic and players from both teams were rushing to Kean’s aid, trying to calm down the (so-called) fans. Players, coaches, staff members, and reporters sympathized with Kean and his “provocative” celebration in front of Cagliari Calcio’s crowd but one player, Leonardo Bonucci, said this:
“We are professionals, we have to set the example and not provoke anyone. Moise should not have done that and the Curva (fans) should not have reacted in that way. Moise has to take 50% of the blame for the abuse he was subjected to.”
Now, even racists are entitled to their opinion, the only problem is; The racist and the victim play for the same team!
LITERALLY THE SAME TEAM! It’s like your best bud calls you out in front of a bunch of people after you got kicked in the nuts and dragged through the dirt. This sh*&t hurts — especially coming from someone you are close with.
Again, I don’t really care about 22 men running after a ball and occasionally score. I also don’t really care about who said or did what, but I do care about racism and the implications such comments can have on the overarching issue to tackle oppression and discrimination. Because; nothing really happened afterward. Nothing really happens usually. Not in Italy, not in soccer, not in the NFL, not in real life, not in politics, not anywhere. People discriminate and get away with it. People are racist and the whole world just sits back and does nothing.
It’s the action of doing nothing —it’s the action of belittlement that is the root of all evil and the reason we actually don’t seem to understand the problem at all. People love to “come together”. We love to unite, fight, support or troll as a collective— justified, necessary or stupid, it doesn’t matter.
We unite to raise millions for a burning church and fill stadiums to root for one team or the other but somehow we can’t figure things out when it comes to black vs white vs yellow vs Alien.
Politicians and overweight, rich, bad hairline middle-aged men owning sports clubs are the worst! They pretend to care about equal rights, fighting bigotry and oppression but all they really do is manipulating the masses, (ab)using the cause to win voters or sell jerseys because when it comes down to it; they don’t care unless it benefits them.
Unless change happens from the top. Words finally turn into actions. Perpetrators get punished, banned and/or convicted. Victims protected. We continue to discriminate together because you aren’t just a racist if you open your mouth but also if you keep supporting the ones who do.