And you thought football fans were dicks.
Soccer player Everton Luiz, a Partizan Belgrade midfielder, left the field in tears on Sunday after he was the victim of racist abuse during the Serbian league game.
According to the Associated Press, the athlete was subjected to “monkey chants” during his team’s victory over Rad. A racist banner was also in the stands where Rads fans were standing, but was removed after the referee intervened.
Luiz played through the abuse until flipping the middle finger to the Rad supporters when Partizan won 1-0, which caused a scuffle between the players after the game.
The Brazilian player, who joined the team last year, said that he and his family felt at home in Serbia — which is why he couldn’t hold in his tears after the game.
He said in a statement:
“I took 90 minutes of racist abuse and other insults from the terraces and thereafter I found myself in a cauldron of emotionless individuals who charged at me when they should have protected me. I want to forget this, refocus on football and urge everyone to say No’ to racism.”
The Partizan team said they “strongly condemn” the racist abuse put on by fans, but the Serbian Football Association had a much stronger reaction to the incident.
On Monday, the association suspended Rad’s stadium in Belgrade until further notice due to the fans’ behavior. League commissioner Vladimir Bulatovic said in a statement:
“Due to the misbehavior of their fans who racially insulted a player, Rad’s stadium has been suspended until the Serbian Football Association (FSS) passes a verdict. The suspension means no first division games will be played at the venue until a final decision is made and disciplinary proceedings have been opened against all parties involved in the incident.”
Serbian fans have become notorious for racism against black players, as Rad supporters are known for their nationalist far-right wing behavior. Who knew they had so much in common with Donald Trump‘s key advisors?
However, it’s great to know the league is taking this abuse seriously. We’re rooting for you, Everton!
[Image via Everton Luiz/Facebook.]