It’s 2018, but sadly racism is still very much an issue around the globe. Today’s Europa League Round of 32 tie between Dortmund and Atalanta was another sad reminder of this fact.
The game today finished 1-1 with BVB advancing to the next round via a 4-3 aggregate score. Dortmund celebrated after the win, but Michy Batshuayi importantly called out the horrendous treatment he received from some Atalanta fans during the match.
2018 and still racists monkey noises in the stands ... really ?! ♂️ hope you have fun watching the rest of @EuropaLeague on TV while we are through #SayNoToRacism #GoWatchBlackPanther ✌— Michy Batshuayi (@mbatshuayi) February 22, 2018
Unfortunately, this type of treatment for a black player in Italy isn’t too surprising. It’s not something that only happens in Serie A, but the country has had more than its fair share of problems with racism in recent times. The first step to stopping it is for players like Michy to speak out. We can’t commend him enough for standing up for himself.
In the past bananas have been thrown at players, similar chants have been made, and there was even an ugly anti-semitic episode that unfolded across the country after Lazio fans put Anne Frank stickers all over the Olympic Stadium when they faced their rivals Roma.
AC Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng once famously led his team off a pitch after he was subjected to racist abuse during a friendly in 2013. Mario Balotelli also often experienced similarly disgusting treatment from groups of fans during his time in Italy.
Again, this isn’t a problem that is unique to Italy. Racism exists everywhere. It’s important to remember that it is usually a vocal minority that deals out the abuse, but it’s still a widespread problem that needs to be stamped out at every opportunity.
Dortmund supporters can be proud that their club have taken the lead in this department. BVB’s anti-racism campaigns have been wonderfully bold, and will no doubt continue to be.
It’s always a shame when an ugly shadow is cast by racist fans on what is supposed to be “the beautiful game.”