Soccer fans shouted racist chants at Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr. — and La Liga's president responded in the worst way possible
- Fans called Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr. a "monkey" during Sunday's match against Valencia.
- Vinicius then tweeted that "it wasn't the first time" and "Spain is known as a country of racists."
Racist chants hurled at Real Madrid soccer star Vinicius Jr. have sparked an outcry against racism in the Spanish soccer league — and La Liga's president responded by criticizing Vinicius himself for speaking out against the incident at Sunday's game.
The Sunday match against Valencia had to be temporarily stopped after a fan seated behind one of the goals at Mestalla stadium called Vinicius a "monkey," CBS Sports reported. Later in the game, fans made monkey noises at Vinicius Jr. — a Black player — as he was given a red card.
"It wasn't the first time or the second or the third. Racism is normal in La Liga. The competition thinks it's normal, as does the federation, and the opponents encourage it," Vinicius said according to a translation from Al Jazeera.
He continued: "The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Lionel] Messi today belongs to the racists. A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and which I love but which accepted to export to the world the image of a racist country. I am sorry for those Spaniards who disagree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists."
Real Madrid even filed a hate crime complaint over the abuse against its star Monday, ESPN reported.
But La Liga President Javier Tebas shot back at Vinicius, asking him to be more "informed" about what the soccer league can do about racism.
"Since those who should explain to you what it is and what La Liga can do in cases of racism, we have tried to explain it ourselves, but you have not shown up for either of the two agreed dates that you requested yourself," Tebas tweeted, according to a translation by Al Jazeera.
"Before you criticize and slander La Liga, you need to inform yourself properly @Vinijr. Don't let yourself be manipulated, and make sure you understand each other's competencies and the work we have been doing together," Tebas continued.
In a follow-up tweet, Tebas said that "neither Spain or La Liga is racist," and that there have been nine reported incidences of racism this season with eight of those being against Vinicius.
"Cases of racism are an extremely rare occurrence (nine reports) which we are committed to eliminating altogether," he said.
Vinicius' manager, former players, and the head of FIFA are all siding with the soccer star.
"Full solidarity to Vinicius," said FIFA president Gianni Infantino. "There is no place for racism in football or in society and FIFA stands by all players who have found themselves in such a situation. Events during the match between Valencia and Real Madrid show that this needs to be the case."
Meanwhile, soccer fans are harshly criticizing Tebas' remarks. The president of Spain's governing body for the sport even called Tebas' comments "irresponsible" on Monday and said there's a "serious problem" with racism in the league.
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