Along with soccer and drunkenness, another prominent component of Euro 2012 thus far, unfortunately, is racism. While tournament officials have made efforts to town down the racists, there have been a number of ugly incidents (so far). The latest came Sunday morning. Leading up to Italy’s showdown with England in the tournaments quarterfinals, an Italian newspaper depicted Italy’s star forward Mario Balotelli sitting atop Big Ben, in a pose that reminded more than a few people of King Kong:
Now, no one knows what the newspaper’s intent was, but we’d like to point out it was the Italian paper. Italy has endeared itself to Balotelli, so it’s a little odd to see this coming from one of its own periodicals.
Before the tournament began, however, Balotelli said he would walk off the field if he was subjected to racism during any of England’s matches. The Manchester City forward went as far to say he would kill someone over racism directed toward him. Just last week, there was another incident involving Balotelli and Croatian fans when Italy took on Croatia. Those fans’ actions resulted in a 65,000-euro fine for Croatia, stemming from racist chants and objects thrown at Balotelli.
And the racism at the tournament began even before the opening kickoff: during a Netherlands practice, a group of Polish fans directed racist jeers at the Dutch team’s Nigel de Jong and Gregory van der Wiel. Let’s hope it doesn’t continue all the way through the final whistle.
[Via Larry Brown Sports]