Racism Permeates Top Spanish Football League | Seven Arrested In Connection With Incidents Targeted At Real Madrid Star Vinícius Jr.

Seven people in Spain were arrested on Tuesday in connection to racist incidents directed at Brazilian national football star Vinícius Jr., who plays for La Liga giants Real Madrid. 

Three of the arrests were related to racist abuse aimed at Vinícius during Madrid’s La Liga loss to Valencia at Mestalla on Sunday. The other four arrests in Madrid involve the hanging of a mannequin wearing a Vinícius shirt from a bridge near Real Madrid’s training site in January.

La Liga Has A History Of Racism

Racism doesn’t only exist in America, folks. It happens all over the world. During the late Middle Ages and Modern Era, Spain participated in the slave trade, and there were Spanish colonies on the African continent.

This isn’t the first time Vinícius, 22, has been subjected to racism during games. It is not uncommon for Black and African players to be subjected to racial abuses.

During the match, fans chanted the word “mono” (“monkey”) at Vinícius, and at one point, the referee stopped the match for 10 minutes so Vinícius could point out those hurling the insults.

“It wasn’t the first time, nor the second, nor the third. Racism is normal in La Liga. The competition thinks it’s normal, the Federation does too and the opponents encourage it,” Vini Jr. tweeted on May 23, shown here translated to English. “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.” 

There has been an outcry across the global football community, including politicians in the wake of the latest incidents aimed at Vinícius.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has come out in support of the Vinícius, criticizing the handling of racism in Spanish football.

La Liga President Goes After Vinícius on Twitter

La Liga president Javier Tebas took to Twitter to criticize Vinícius for how he handled the incidents in his post match presser and defended the league’s handling of the situation.

“Since those who should do not explain what it is and what it can do @LaLiga in cases of racism, we have tried to explain it to you, but you have not presented yourself to either of the two agreed dates that you yourself requested,” a translation of the May 21 tweet shows. “Before criticizing and insulting @LaLiga, it is necessary that you inform yourself properly @Vinijr. Do not let yourself be manipulated and make sure you understand each other’s skills and the work we have been doing together.”

Vini Jr. clapped back at Tebas.

“Again, instead of criticizing racists, the president of La Liga appears on social media to attack me. As much as you talk and pretend not to read, the image of your championship is shaken. See the responses to your posts and have a surprise…Omitting yourself only makes you equate yourself with racists. I’m not your friend to talk about racism. I want actions and punishments. Hashtag doesn’t move me.”

As is protocol an anti-racism message was shown on the big screen at that time of the incident. The league has also used “TogetheragainstRacism as a hashtag worn on the armbands of club captains.

This is a bad look for La Liga and Tebas. This is something the Spanish league must take seriously and work to make sure players are able to feel safe. Arrests, revocation of tickets, banning from stadiums. It should all be on the table as punishments.

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