While football is the most popular sport in the world, nothing about that suggests that the fans actually respect the players participating in the sport that they all love. In fact, instances of racial abuse are very common in football from the fans to the players. Racism from the stands shouldn’t have to be something players deal with, especially when they’re focusing on entertaining those said fans. People should be able to be comfortable and safe at all times while they’re working, or simply, living their life.
Everton Luiz, a player for Partizan Belgrade, faced so much hostility from fans at a football match in the form of racist chants and banners that he ended up leaving the match crying. Fans carried a racist banner in the stands that wasn’t removed until the referee intervened later. The Rad fans also participated in “monkey like chants” to further harass and humiliate the Brazilian player. Partizan was playing a match against Rad, in the Serbian league, at the Rad stadium.
Partizan beat Rad 1-0 in the match and at the end of the match, Everton Luiz flipped off the Rad fans that had been harassing him the entire time. After the Rad players became enraged at his motion, a scuffle happened between the teams.
After the match, Luiz was quoted while crying that he, “faced racist abuse during the entire match“.
Everton also said, “I couldn’t hold back the tears because I was racially insulted from the stands for 90 minutes”. A disgusting attack on him made even more disgusting when the opposite team did nothing to support their fellow football player, and instead chose to be offended at the end of the match when he flipped the racist fans off. He added that he was also shocked and hurt that the members of the Rad team seemed to support the racist fans: “I was even more shocked by the attitude of opposing players who, instead of calming things down, backed this behavior“.
Serbian fans have had a history of racist abuse towards Black players, and Rad is known for having ultra-right wing, white nationalist leanings. There have been several hugely-public instances of disgusting racism from Serbian fans during games, including Serbian fans chanting and screaming racist abuse when they played against England, targeting the Black players on England’s 21 and under team. This past Monday, after the racist harassment from the Rad fans, the Serbian Football Association indefinitely suspended the Rad’s stadium, located in Belgrade.
However, banning the stadium isn’t enough. They need to start giving people life bans from attending sporting events, if they’re going to racially abuse the players. Their disgusting, hateful comments are not needed, and other fans need to stand up to this behaviour while security and referees remove perpetrators of racial abuse. There is absolutely no reason for Luiz to have been made to play the match under those circumstances. Those fans should not be allowed to see a football match ever again.