Brazilian Soccer Star Speaks Out Over Racism He Experienced During Spanish Gameplay

Vinícius Júnior Playing Soccer

Photo: vitaliivitleo/Depositphotos

Vinícius Júnior is a 22-year-old Brazillian soccer player who has been the subject of racist abuse while on the field. On Sunday, May 21, 2023, his team Real Madrid played a game against Valencia CF and Vinícius endured persistent racist taunting. Valencia fans called Vinícius “mono” (Spanish for monkey) when he arrived at the stadium and throughout the game.

This is unacceptable and abhorrent behavior, and Vinícius stood up for himself as it was taking place. During stoppage time in the second half, Vinícius pointed out the portion of the crowd abusing him. An announcement was made over the stadium loudspeakers telling fans not to insult players or to throw things onto the field.

The referees made a note of the incident. “Racist insults: in the 73rd minute, a spectator from the southern ‘Mario Kempes’ tribune directed himself towards player No. 20 of Real Madrid CF Mr. Vinicius José De Oliveira Do Nascimiento, screaming at him: ‘Monkey, monkey’ which led to the activation of the racism protocol, notifying the pitch delegate so that a corresponding warning over the loudspeaker would be made. The match was halted until said announcement was aired over the loudspeaker of the stadium,” the official report read.

Other racist abuse happened throughout the game. Near the end of the match, Vinícius was sent off the field for his first-ever red card. This led to more “monkey” chants from the stands.

The Spanish national police identified the person allegedly involved in the event but no arrests have been made. Spanish authorities have also opened an investigation into a potential hate crime.

Sadly, this is not the first time Vinícius has been harassed. He has been the subject of nine reports of racist incidents in the last two seasons.

“It wasn't the first time, nor the second, nor the third,” Vinícius wrote in an Instagram post. “Racism is normal in La Liga [the league he plays in]. The competition thinks it's normal, the Federation does too and the opponents encourage it. I'm so sorry. The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi, today belongs to racists.

“A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and which I love, but which agreed to export the image of a racist country to the world. I'm sorry for the Spaniards who don't agree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists. And unfortunately, for everything that happens each week, I have no defense. I agree. But I am strong and I will go to the end against racists. Even if far from here.”

A majority of the international soccer community offered its support to Vinícius, unlike LaLiga president Javier Tebas Medrano. He was on the defensive. “Before criticizing and insulting LaLiga, it is necessary that you inform yourself properly,” he replied to Vinícius. “Neither Spain nor LaLiga are racist, it is very unfair to say this,” Medrano said in another tweet.

Vinícius is a soccer superstar and has indicated that he could leave the team if things don’t change.

On May 21, 2023, soccer star Vinícius Júnior endured racist abuse while his team Real Madrid played a game against Valencia CF. After the game, Vinícius created an Instagram post calling it out.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Vinicius Jr. ⚡️🇧🇷 (@vinijr)

While a majority of the international soccer community offered its support to Vinícius, LaLiga (the league he plays in) president Javier Tebas Medrano was on the defensive.

h/t: [CNN]

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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