Fans Taunt Soccer Star Mario Balotelli with Inflatable Bananas
International soccer star Mario Balotelli isn’t a stranger when it comes to controversy, but what he experienced this weekend is something no athlete deserves.
According to The Guardian, Balotelli was the target of racial abuse during the Milan derby. In the report fans were said to have chanted racist remarks throughout the game and sections of fans waved inflatable bananas every time Balotelli touched the ball.
The fans were supporters of Inter, Balotelli’s former club. Inter was fined 15,000 euros for chanting racist chants towards Balotelli in their previous match. Fans also threw bananas onto the field during that match. The seriousness of these chants and antics seem to not be punished harshly enough if fans are allowed to continue badgering players with racial remarks.
I attended a Kansas City Chiefs game this past season where fans were kicked out of the stadium for carrying “Fire Scott Pioli” signs. It is mind boggling that fans would be allowed to carry large bananas into the stadium and nothing be done. At the least security could make fans throw away racist props and warn sections when chants are blatantly racist.
Inter president Massimo Moratti spoke to The Guardian and had this to say about the events :
“I was told about it because I couldn’t make out clearly what they were saying. I’m very sorry about that. I’m very sorry and I really hope it doesn’t happen during the derby.”
These racist antics are becoming a trend for Inter and a fine may not be strong enough for this club. The acceptance of racism is just as bad as the act, international soccer needs to open up it’s eyes and put a stop to this immediately.
Balotelli said it best in 2012 when asked about the racism that he faces on soccer pitches:
“If (racism) were to happen again, I would leave the pitch right away and go back home.”
“I will not accept racism at all. It’s unacceptable. If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to jail, because I will kill them.”