The disgusting racist abuse Vinicius Jr receives almost wherever he plays in La Liga shows that things need to change.
Vini is right to not put up with this constant racist abuse.
It is outrageous that so many Spanish people think a racist insult in a stadium is banter. He has said enough is enough. And you can only agree with that statement.
On Monday Fifa president Gianni Infantino suggested that his organisation’s protocols could have led to players leaving the pitch.
La Liga protocols, which contemplate that possibility, were followed by the referee, but did not go that far on this occasion.
- Real report Vinicius Jr racist abuse as hate crime
One of the problems, as Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said after the game, is that the referee followed protocol so maybe protocol has to be changed?
Maybe it should be allowed for teams to walk out if they want to as soon as they feel it is the right thing to do, and not be punished for it. Courtois said he would have done it and they’d have liked to have done it.
Head coach Carlo Ancelotti said that as well. Many of us would have clapped that gesture, because unless a symbolic action like that gets taken, no-one is going to take it very seriously. It would be a step in the right direction.
There has been criticism of La Liga and its president Javier Tebas. But La Liga has reported every single incident, investigated it and sent the details of the investigation to the police. That is their role. It is down to police and judges to take the next step.
So, La Liga is doing more than ever to try and point out the problem we’ve got. Not just with banners and hashtags, but actually reporting the issues with their delegates. Of course more is being done, but at least they are not looking away.
The law is relatively strong and if followed to the letter, it can take people to prison but there’s only really been one court case that I can think of regarding an Espanyol fan abusing Inaki Williams.
A lot of other court cases have been thrown out because of lack of evidence, or judges don’t see racial abuse as something to be punished. Some have even said it’s considered as part of football’s industrial language. This leaves you with the feeling that there is institutional racism within Spanish judiciary.
But would a change to the law actually get to the heart of the problem? The protocol should be more strict and in favour of the victims but it is society that has to change.
We (including sports media) aren’t taking it seriously enough. The fans around those that do it, don’t take it seriously. Some clubs aren’t as strong as they should be with their ultras. More clubs than ever are taking a stand against fans that are caught though.
We are moving forward but at a snail’s pace.
Everybody should be more robust about it. It’s a societal issue and will be until we consider this as a social illness of society and until we universally condemn the abuse (and you will not be surprised to hear that many blame Vini for it all), and make the punishment so huge that it deters people. Also until a committee of respected experts is created and their conclusions followed up everywhere, from clubs to courts, we won’t advance.
The problem is society is so polarised right now, and winning an argument seems to be more relevant than finding a solution.
Difficult times, but the fight to eradicate racism is daily and forever.