June 27th, 2012
03:05 PM ET

Time to get tough on racism in football

Mario Balotelli has played in all four of Italy's Euro 2012 matches.
Mario Balotelli has played in all four of Italy's Euro 2012 matches.

You wouldn’t blame Mario Balotelli for digging out his “Why Always Me?” T-shirt after he was compared to King Kong by Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

It was an ill-judged cartoon which proves, yet again, how much more attitudes in the football world need to change to stop black footballers being singled out for the color of their skin.

If a respected publication like Gazetta, which has been running for more than a century, can sanction an illustration comparing someone from an ethnic minority with a famous gorilla – even in jest – then is it any wonder that anti-racism campaigners remain dismayed by football’s attempts to eradicate the problem?

Putting aside this incident, maybe it's time for the sport's governing bodies to start docking teams points as punishment for racist transgressions.

That happened to Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem earlier this year. They had two points deducted after their fans chanted racist abuse at Nigeria-born Israel international Toto Tamuz. This was after a previous penalty, of forcing Beitar to play a match behind closed doors, had failed to stop the problem.

Gazetta has apologized for the Balotelli cartoon – which showed King Kong, with the striker’s face, astride London landmark Big Ben – after receiving complaints from readers. Reports suggest the player himself was also unhappy with the drawing, which was published ahead of Italy’s Euro 2012 quarterfinal against England.

The newspaper said: “We have to admit that it wasn’t our cartoonist’s best product. In these times we need a bit more moderation, caution and good taste … we have always fought against racism and condemned booing against Balotelli as unacceptable.”

This statement contradicts any argument that might have been made suggesting the drawing could have been interpreted as a compliment. In reality it was a clumsy reference, especially coming during a tournament that has been marred by racist controversies.

UEFA has already issued more than $218,000 in fines for incidents connected to racism by fans at Euro 2012. Both Croatia and Russia have been multiple offenders.

And although anecdotal evidence from the tournament suggests fears of xenophobia – particularly in Ukraine – have been exaggerated, the Balotelli insult has demonstrated that the anti-racism message isn't getting through to everybody and it's time for football's authorities to get much, much tougher.

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Filed under:  Football
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Philip Rushe

    Balotelli could have played for Ghana, Tamuz could have played for Nigeria. Who did they commit themselves to countries that are well known for rampant racism, countries where they will never be fully accepted no matter how successful they are? Balotelli and Tamuz are literally playing into the hands of the racists and they should withdraw their services from Italy and Israel respectively as a form of protest. I mean to say, has Tamuz not noticed how the Israelis treat the Palestinians who look just like them?

    June 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply
  2. Sergio

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. Why is it ok to call your opponent an SOB or something much worse, but it's not ok to harass him because of his color? Either it's all ok or none of it is ok.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Reply
  3. El Lepero

    UEFA is just looking for a way to make money at the expense of the clubs. This is a sorry situation.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Reply
  4. Concerned

    Though I am in general agreement with your statements, it seems to me that we should start with the media as they have a big influence on the behavior of spectators and the general public.
    I find it very disappointing that the Gazette is just reacting with a statement about not being the best product. No disciplinary actions? If you, Mr. Thomas, would show this particular picture in a blog on the internet, would CNN not take serious actions? At least I hope so. We had a well know sportscaster in this country fired for making a racial remark on TV.
    Jeers to the Gazette for not dealing with the cartoonist, and, of course, the editor!

    June 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Reply
  5. Honestuck

    The best remedy for racist fans is the death penalty for their team from International competition for five years for each offense. It cured South Africa of Aparthied. I think we don't need better evidence than that to know death penalty in sports work.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  6. The Old One

    Perhaps one day evolution will go so far as to make it possible to be racist towards Whites (caucasians) also. As things stand now, only people "of colour" has the ability to be subject to racism.

    This is blatant discrimination.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  7. bibeka

    It is indeed most disheartening to note that Balotelli is singled out for this kind of thing DESPITE Italy beating England. I cannot imagine what the Italians and their press would have done had Italy lost. Balotelli would have probably gotten worse than what England's Ashleys Young and Cole are getting now!

    June 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Reply
  8. stevenperete

    Balotelli and Tamuz are not to blame FIFA and UEFA are. The give out light punishment. If the punishment was clippling enough to the finances and log standing of teams in league and competitions, clubs and fans would stop this and focus on the football.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Reply
  9. CLC

    Italy is fundamentally a racist, sexist, zenophobic culture. To reach any other conclusion is to deny the facts–in Italy, this kind of thing happens all of the time, every day, as a matter of course.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Reply
  10. Philip

    Balotelli has all the rights to play for itlay, he is an Italian Citizen and great player for the Azzurri.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Reply
  11. Real Football Fan

    This isn't about football, it's about soccer. Geez, get your sports right.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  12. Fr33th1nk3r

    The problem with this article is that they are calling soccer "football"....

    June 27, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  13. chocolate man

    For me honestly I am a chocolate man from shocoland i realy feel sorry for those who cant ,sleep or have proplem with another colour,we all go to the toilet,eat,laugh,dance etc. why would you hurt another human being like you.for me that what i call lake of knowledge.people needs to grow up. and learn to love others dispite their skin

    June 27, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  14. shugaman

    The silliest part of it all is that the newspaper insulted their own player like that. I mean what kind of person sees that and thinks that a good idea to print that in a national newspaper? Four or five people saw that and all thought "yes, lets go with that".......wow!!!! Thats sad.....

    June 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Reply
  15. chocopoppy

    Sergio, it's because one set of insults is directed toward that person's behavior (e.g., you're an "SOB") while the racial insults target something he can do nothing about - his skin color. Makes sense, no?

    June 27, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  16. Lucille

    Sergio (written 27June2012 5.46 p.m. ET) -

    The difference is that the white players who are called S-O-Bs on the field will lose that tag as soon as they come off the field and blend in with the general population. On the other hand, the black player will always stand out from the crowd and be noticed because of his colour. Because he is different, the negative tag remains. It is one thing to look different; it is another thing for people to abuse you because you look different. You should try posing as some other (dark) nationationality (if you can) and see what comes out of the heart of some "good" people.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Reply
  17. Steve, New York City

    This is really sad stuff.
    Europeans often make fun of Americans for being uncivilized.

    The USA is not perfect, but you'll never see packed stadiums chanting racist slurs at any MLB, NFL, NBA or NHL game. Sure, you have idiots (like that half-wit boxer who made fun of the NY Knicks' Jeremy Lin). . .but people like him tend to be the exceptions at professional sporting events.

    Hmmm . .. maybe Europeans are not as evolved as they think they are (or does anyone want to start talking about the Balkans)?

    June 27, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Reply
  18. Joe

    Racism in football? Institutionalized European racism is the issue. I always have to chuckle about America's seeming need to look to Europe for approval for any social welfare or liberal-leaning policy. None of us reading this blog will be alive when a European country finally elects a President/Prime Minister/Premier of color or who is the son/daughter of immigrants. Shame on all of you for pretending this is just a problem on the football pitch. It is widely accepted throughout the EU, and is not going to change in our lifetimes. What a joke.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  19. Futbol fan

    Mike, South Africa's government WAS the KKK equivalent!! If you didn't see that, you are one big moron.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  20. @Mike

    Mike...really? You think these other countries are so much worse than South Africa? We aren't necklacing folks. I haven't had to hit the pavement when shots are fired. I don't have a larger chance of being raped than not.

    Just because other countries have a problem with racism doesn't mean South Africa doesn't.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Reply
  21. Da man

    As one looks at the beautiful game, we realize that many countries are starting to show a mixture of personel from various background that are now included in a mostly anglo based country starting line ups.
    Those same countries seems to be the ones with fans showing this diturbing and outrageous attitude towards a players different origins. It is way past the time for serious actions to be taken by the sports governing authorities for serious punishments against these clubs, leagues countries and fans. (Not nescessarily in that order). The media(s) representaing these organizations should be held FULLY accountable for any innapriateness and for not steadfastly promoting the ANTI RACISM rhetoric that is so widely used in sporting events. Shame on the ones who do not endeavour to rise above this disgusting behaviour. Look inwards and answer your own questions.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  22. AnAmerican

    Well it's not like soccer is a real sport anyway....

    June 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  23. Sam the man

    Can someone explain how this is different than showing the prophet mohammad in a deragotory cartoon? is it freedom of expression or is it racism. i smell a double standard here. not surprisingly i might add.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  24. Mike loves D

    Your comment wins the "moron of the day" award. Congrats!

    June 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Reply
  25. Al

    I really feel for Mario Balotelli. I wish he would have played for Ghana.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  26. jsa

    admit it.. he does have the same facial features as king kong! Its not racist..

    June 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  27. that's too bad

    Sergio, really?? That's the dumbest comment i've read today. Shall all the players wear mittens as well? someone may get cut by a fingernail...

    I'm all for competition. It's competition that makes a sport a sport. It makes it interesting, heated and sometimes (often) loud- I find no problem with taunting another team's fans about their loyalty. It has been part of the game since we were chanting "...we've got spirit, how about you" at summer camp as kids. Unfortunately, quite a few people in this world do not have a filter on what is appropriate to say out loud and what to keep to themselves.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Reply
  28. Bob the Cat

    Mike, your comment is both stupid and ignorant, well done.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  29. willy

    Howard Cosell comes to mind. And Jimmy the greek. Intent seems to matter little.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  30. hecep

    Look for the racist apologists to say, "Hey! What's the problem? It was only a joke!" Dimwits, all.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Reply
  31. Amurrican

    I thought this story was about football, dammit! 'nstead alls I see is a story about some I-talian cartoon of a soccer player! Thanks for nothin' CNN! This is the last I take of your deceivery!

    June 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Reply
  32. snowdogg

    It is soccer... football is an American game

    June 27, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  33. hecep

    Sergio. Saying it before, then saying it again, does not mean you're right. I would much rather be called an SOB than have a racial epithet thrown at me. Why? Because there is terrible history behind certain words. And those histories include lynch mobs, genocide, and institutionalized maltreatment of people just because they're off another race. The world simply isn't as simple as you appear to portray it.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Reply
  34. DPatriot

    People need to quit being so sensitive and looking for any possible sign of racism in everything they see, why would he be offended???? He isnt a 50 ft tall fictional gorilla or even a minority anymore.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  35. Richard

    Worry about racist trivialities all you want. South Africa still has 50,000 rapes and murders ever year and the rest of Africa is a cesspit of violence. King Kong was civilized compared to most in that continent.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  36. Corey291

    >>Balotelli could have played for Ghana, Tamuz could have played for Nigeria. Who did they commit themselves to countries that are well known for rampant racism, countries where they will never be fully accepted no matter how successful they are?

    Balotelli and Tamuz should not be restricted to playing for majority black teams just because they are less likely to be accepted by countries where they are of a different race.

    Hiding from racism, and racists is a surefire way to perpetuate the problem. The wall of racism will only be broken down when these athletes continue to play for whatever countries will sign them regardless of their race. Balotelli is doing the right thing by playing for Italy and working to break that wall down, just as Jackie Robinson did in the U.S. If he had decided to simply stay in the Negro Leagues, then how would things have changed as far as racial acceptance in Major League Baseball? It's the same with other sports, including football.

    I applaud athletes like Balotelli and Tamuz for standing up to racism in their sport and working on the field to bring the barriers down. As has been proven in other sports where athletes of other races weren't accepted previously, The racist crap they're going through will not last forever. As the sport continues to be integrated and the governing bodies of these sports play an ACTIVE role in addressing the issue, athletes of varying races will be accepted.

    It won't happen overnight. But it won't happen at all unless these guys are out there standing against it. Hiding only enables the racists and validates their mindset.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  37. Jayson

    How the heck does a team get docked points for their fans actions? Hopefully something got left out there since that would just be dumb

    June 27, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Reply
  38. lean6

    I find it actually pretty obvious that beneath the clothing, the education, the language, and other window dressing, human beings simply can't escape the fact that they are ALL animals...savages. We all know that when the tough gets going, some of the worse possible behavior that you can imagine will be carried out by mankind against mankind. We are extremely close to this day coming to pass. Just think about this the next time we are tetering on the edge of a global financial meltdown.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  39. hangar13

    Big, strong, guys have always been compared to King Kong, there's nothing racial about it unless you're just looking for something to whine about, which seems to be what people do these days. And the article isn't about football, it's about soccer. We speak American on this side of the pond, reporters should use the language of their audience.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  40. TheBigSarge

    it does not have to signify a correlation between color and monkeys.

    i saw the cartoon and my first impression was that ballotelli is so strong in his game, that his abilities are of gargantuan proportion.

    i can see the "implied disrespect" towards race, but you have to put yourself in a racist mind-set yourself to do so.

    i guess this means we can't ever have godzilla with the face of an asian (or new yorker, since that horrible remake) to demonstrate the strength of the asian (or new yorker) athlete.

    -TheBigSarge

    June 27, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Reply
  41. carl

    YAWN!!!!!!

    June 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  42. Sherri

    I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that maybe we should not discriminate against people for what they cannot control (race, sex, age, height) but what about what they CAN control? It is never OK to discriminate against someone for something they have no control over, like the things I mentioned. But what if they CAN control it, ie weight, religion, political views etc.
    Why are we so afraid to call someone out if they have stupid political or religious views? We've made it so everyone is too afraid to even criticize someone for this. I think we've gone too far. If you think there's a genie living in your backyard, who controls the weather, why can't I tell you you're stupid? Unless you can prove your claim. If you think some political candidate is god's answer to mankind, why can't I tell you you're crazy? Unless you can prove it. We are so P.C. we won't say anything and we'll let them get away with anything because, oh my, it's his religion. I think that's nuts. You CAN control your religion and your religious beliefs. So they should be fair game.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  43. John

    Racism is not stopped by fines, penalties or point reductions. It takes conscious effort by a society to teach and understand cultural differences. Appreciate what makes us all different and recognize what makes us all the same.
    Yes racist comments, chants or cartoons are not okay but the racist condition of a peoples' mind is ignorant and speaks to the stark reality of just how little we humans have learned...a sorry situation indeed

    June 27, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Reply
  44. Taylor

    I wish the author of this article had shown the cartoon. Political cartoons are interpretive and it would help readers decide for themselves whether the drawing was racist. CNN, articles need to be detail-oriented.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Reply
  45. joe

    I looked it up (since CNN was too chicken to show it) It was tasteless, it was irrelevant, it didn’t convey any coherent message – it was just a silly pun devoid of humor. I don’t know why it would have been made or even worst printed except as a personal attack on that athlete.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Reply
  46. meemee

    I think it is ridiculous to begin with that European nations fill their sport teams ranks with Africans. What's the point of having a national team?

    I also think that in America (at least) we ignore the sort of racism that assumes that only blacks can do certain sports, causing whites and other races to often forgo even attempting a sport. It turned out that Russians (and Slavs) can beat our best black basketball players. Why was that,? Whites aren't supposed to be able to do that! The Slavs just didn't know that.

    As far as SA goes, better catch up a bit. Whites are being persecuted, raped, murdered and robbed at an alarming rate. SA is the rape capital of the world. A recent article online was about how the ANC has announced its intention to "take all the money from the whites." In neighboring Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of Africa, they kicked out all whites murdering many of the white farmers and now the place needs aid. Why is all this allowed to be done to whites and goes on being largely ignored by the MM while a cartoon incident like this is so newsworthy?

    June 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  47. Carla Vazq

    "Putting aside this incident, maybe it's time for the sport's governing bodies to start docking teams points as punishment for racist transgressions."

    Get F'n Real! That's the stupidest thing I have heard concerning this issue.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  48. pauleky

    Sergio, if you can't see the difference, maybe this is one explanation as to why it's so rampant. Maybe if you actually think about it, it will come to you.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Reply
  49. Nick

    @Philip Rush- your arguement is ridiculous and you sound racist.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Reply
  50. DisgruntledGirl

    Honestly, I instantly thought Godzilla when I saw the crest on his head.
    Aw crap now I have that Blue Oyster Cult song stuck in my head.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Reply
  51. wake up

    I can't blame soccer fans for feeling this way about non-white players. An Italian team should have, you know, ITALIAN PLAYERS. Balotelli may have an Italian name and Italian citizenship, but he is not Italian. He is Ghanaian. A non-European should not represent a European team.

    Flame on...

    June 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  52. Kei

    @ Sergio – Sometimes facts differ from the truth. For instance, a punch in the arm may hurt but a punch in the face is worse. Factually, both are punches but the truth is one is worse. Similarly, all insults are hurtful, but the truth is insults based on ethnicity are worse because they cause more harm due to the insidious nature of racism. You are entitled to your opinion, but comparing a racist insult to being called a SOB is pretty ignorant. My intent is not to insult you, but your statement is an insult to those who have suffered from this type of abuse.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Reply
  53. Polar Bear

    Can't be! From the continent that brought us the Nazi empire? I would say that the vestiges of the sentiment run deep, historically deep. Not that minorities haven't to some extent brought some of it upon themselves. It's not the individual that is the problem, it's the person who embodies the cultural stereotype. On both sides.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Reply
  54. CRAIG O. BALL

    Italians are jokes. They are the most mixed up race or country on planet earth. Everyone under the sunshine has conquered Italy at one time or another..and left their seeds to grow into the muttish race we refer to as "Italians". They have a whole lot of nerve.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  55. daz smith

    hey mike u do realize the blacks themselves sold negros to the dutch slave ships , so that would make themselves bad right? football is football its always gonna have some w****r int he crowd being ridiculous and for u too say leave their livelyhood is a pathetic remark .

    June 27, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  56. Kei

    @ Philip Rushe – Using your reasoning, anyone who may face racism should just seek to avoid it. So the people who helped desegregate schools were playing into the hands of biggots by not just going to the black schools? I work in a profession where there are few people of color so I should just change professions because I know I will encounter racism? For me, that is a pretty cowardly way to live. In my opinion, we play into the hands of racists when we are afraid to confront them head on. You are basically blaming the victims instead of the people who are actually in the wrong.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  57. Annice

    @Sergio you are an idiot. Calling someone an SOB is a general term. When one chooses to be ignorant based on race and single an individual or individuals out it is just plain wrong. It should never be acceptable because we are all from the same human family.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Reply
  58. Tom Dawson

    Sergio: "Why is it ok to call your opponent an SOB or something much worse, but it's not ok to harass him because of his color?"

    Because when you call your opponent an SOB, you're only insulting THAT person. When you call someone a racial slur, you're not just insulting THAT person, you're insulting EVERY person (at least within earshot) that shares the same skin color as the opponent.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Reply
  59. rc

    What I find funny is that if I saw the cartoon of a football players head on King Kings body, I would be thinking they were saying he was big and powerful. Then everyone would label me as a racist because I didn't see ay racism in the drawing.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Reply
  60. Yo' Mama

    Mike you're a moron. South Africa has the world's largest and active white supremacist movement. Read a book or something.

    June 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  61. Paul

    Hideki Matsui was affectionately known as "Godzilla" by Yankees fans. There were even jerseys with his nickname and his number on them. Not every remark or cartoon is mean spirited. Lighten up world- Hedeki never complained.

    June 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Reply
  62. ronjayaz

    Racism is dormant in Europe and active in America & because of the two facts we dont allow such nonsense. There will always be people that will revert to the previous racist concepts like monkeys to depict African-Americans but I'll never forget as a kid a white kid who looked exactly like a monkey. It was hard to look at him given the racism of the 1940s and all the ignorance of that time..

    June 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Reply
  63. cpc65

    Uh, just a bit of over sensitivity maybe in seeing racism even where none was intended? I haven't seen the cartoon myself, nor am I Black, but you think it would be meant as a compliment. The Big Double K rules!

    June 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  64. Troy

    @sergio. Because people can stop being SOBs but they can't (and shouldn't) stop being a color. Seriously, that was the dumbest quesion I've ever answered. If you need to figure it out in the future, ask yourself:

    Can this person change the thing I am making fun of?

    June 27, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Reply
  65. Shamrock

    Yeah...and if I was King Kong, I'd be lodging a complaint, too.

    June 27, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  66. John D Hater

    I love being a black man who intimidates men of all other colors!!!!!

    June 27, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  67. ldean50

    I hope Blacks understand that sometimes a white person has no knowledge that they are being so insulting. I had to read the article to see the connection; although, I must admit I had to ask. i.e. in the Southern culture of the U.S. all children are referred to as monkeys – yard apes, curtain climbers... I recall a federal employee being fired for using the phase curtain climber, and again didn't recognize the offense. Same with the fried chicken joke about the golfer a couple of years ago. Fried chicken is not a "Black" thing, it's a Southern thing; same with collards and hog jowl etc. But, I recently learned at age 57 that fried chicken comments are not appropriate if used in front of a non-southern Black person. I hate to see stuff like this happens, and I hope people look for "intent" before they "judge." I believe most African Americans know this – it's really us white people that don't get it. (I find myself wanting to type... I hope my words were not offensive to anyone). Just opening up the discussion. tks

    June 27, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  68. Jimmy Laing

    Fortunately, the Allies won WWII, so we don't have to care about soccer.

    June 27, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Reply
  69. Bo Failied

    The PC mongers are taking this nation down.

    June 27, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Reply
  70. SkyKing

    What is racist about that?
    Get a life!!

    June 27, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Reply
  71. Truth BEFREE

    It's sad to see that the biggest Italian newspaper didn't quite or at least says it didn't understand the racist implications of the actual cartoon? What? If it were a white player would it have the same significance? I don't think so... If Luigi Buffon were on Big Ben swatting away balls I guess that would be ok, since that's what a goalkeeper does and he's obviously white. But how insensitive to race can someone be after all the UEFA campaigns of respect and tolerance towards race, color and creed? It amazes me that the Gazette gets away with such a poor excuse of an apology and not taking responsibility for holding someone accountable. And yes without doubt, the cartoon is racist no matter how you look at it. UEFA has tried to jam the anti racisim down the throats of the Ukraines and Poles, but awarded those countries the Euro???? On what merits of tolerance did they get to host the European Championships? As far as Balotelli is concerned, he's shown incredible restraint and let's remember, he's just a kid really and it's sad that he has to endure this kind of treatment and not just being focused on as one of the world's top players. My heart goes out to Mario and his family. His Italian parents love him for sure and know that the real Mario is just super. Shame on all you racist chanters. We should ban you all from sporting events. The world doesn't need you.

    June 27, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Reply
  72. Mark Biram

    sorry to be pedantic, but double z in gazzetta surely?
    as regards the insensitivity – well, monumentally stupid, but this is the italian media we're talking about......

    June 27, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Reply
    • garymorley

      Re: Mark Biram
      Hi, that's been corrected, thanks...

      June 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  73. Bob

    I would need to see the cartoon to judge if it were racist or not. Does the image of King Kong seem to be chosen because of Balotelli's skin color or maybe because of his strength?

    I remember a huge fall out over a courier company replacing a black man's face with a white man's face in a print ad. Yet what I saw is that an older man's face was replaced by a younger man's face.

    I often find that people strongly advocating political correctness mean well, but that they often see people from a different race as truly different. That sort of hidden racism is more worrying to me than a bunch of worthless hooligans shouting racist remarks.

    June 28, 2012 at 1:36 am | Reply
  74. Windy Vincent

    It’s unlikely but possible that you could get KILLED today Or any day. I’m sorry but that’s the truth.BLACKmaleness is a potentially fatal condition.I tell you that not to scare you but because knowing that could possibly save your life,he wrote.There are people who will look at YOU and see a villain or a criminal or something fearsome.It’s possible they may act on their prejudice and insecurity.Being BLACK could turn an ordinary situation into a life or death moment even if you’re doing nothing wrong.
    BY mallory Simon
    P.S
    No matter how much you try loving this guys,their hatred for blacks is eternity period.Sad but true

    June 28, 2012 at 9:33 am | Reply
  75. Jes

    Are you another racist Philip Rushe ?

    What makes say that Balotelli should have played for Ghana ? The man was born and raised in Italy . That is his country as USA is Obama`s country .If it is about "forming a protest" where will all the white people who detest racism go to ?

    June 28, 2012 at 10:02 am | Reply
  76. a

    THE RASCIZM IS THE US PROBLEM, NOT IN EUROPE, AND AT LEAST NOT IN EASTERN EUROPE, (WHERE BLACK FOREIGNER IS SO RARE THAT PEOPLE LIKE THEM AS SOMETHING NEW!!!)

    June 28, 2012 at 10:04 am | Reply
  77. Resilience

    I would love to be compared to King Kong, he is cool. Racism says more about how sensitive people are, come on, be able not take everything that serious. Especially in case of Balotelli, a super start player, got the skills, stamina, character, no need to be so quick tempered

    June 28, 2012 at 10:15 am | Reply
  78. Kaikai

    Racism will never stop as long as white folks don't change their attitude towards black people. That's really absurd and sad as well. The only way to prevent racial missleading is when you impose strong laws against racial missbehaviour. Talking about racism is cheap, but action speaks louder than words.

    June 28, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
  79. dcmortimer

    What ever sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me?

    June 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  80. James

    They they should withdarw their services and just quit the easy way ...Just like Jackie Robinson

    June 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  81. jsinnottcnn

    Many thanks for all the responses to Alex Thomas' Mario Balotelli blog. People have asked why we did not show the cartoon – we took the decision not to show it as it seemed gratuitous to do so.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  82. King

    @Jes I am black and I love your comment so true! Not all white people are racist. Balotelli is Italian regardless of his genetic origin born and raised in italy so he is Italian as well as African but should definitely play for Italy as he was raised there!

    June 28, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Reply
  83. Nellie Cabo

    Racism is every where it's a global problem.On the other hand ,we can never change or hide our skin color,and because it's prejudice,anyone who is a Racist,must be brought to court and be tried,because it is against the law of the land.

    June 29, 2012 at 12:06 am | Reply
  84. Soccer Fan

    I am amazed by the comments from people saying that the "PC crowd" is overreacting about this cartoon. I haven't seen it but based on several recent incidents in european stadiums, both on the pitch and in the stands, based on the rise of extremists and xenophobia all over Europe, this incident is "almost" normal these days, it's a reflexion of the european state of mind in 2012. Mario, Eto'o, Roberto Carlos and many other players have had to indure chants, racist signs and banana peels. This is not particular to eastern europe, it is all over europe. There is not excuse for it. we are in 2012!!! 21st century...
    Indeed, there is still racism in the US as well. But I can't imagine Kobe Bryant, Jozy Altidore or Tiger Wood being subjected to this type of open racism in an american venue. FIFA and UEFA aren't doing anything about the situation. They should learn from the NBA, NFL and MLB and hopefully come up with solutions. These "colored" players are not asking for anything but play and win. They work as hard as they should, they make money for their teams, and they don't even get a thank you. This is what american professional sport went through about 50+ years ago. Thankfully, we overcame it... I give it to Mario for dealing with the cartoon and other abuses and still play his heart out... I hope he scores the winning goal (in the final) for that country that hates him. I feel your pain brother...
    PS: If only he could play for the US nat team...

    June 29, 2012 at 9:48 am | Reply
  85. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    The Beautiful Game is made more beautiful by footballers representing different colors. Otherwise it would be boring and monotonous. I love watching footballers from all the continents. These are all highly gifted guys and we are privileged to watch them in action in our life time.

    June 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  86. foday bundu

    Racism is not only found in foot ball,from dictionaries,that every thing black is negative,and any thing white is good and positive,till we as humans change the meanings of black in dictionaries,if not racism can not stop.

    June 29, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  87. ANTHONY

    GREAT 2 BE AN AFRICAN GOD BLESS HIM 4 CHANGING ITALY HAS BLACK THKS ALOT MAKES AFRICAN HAPPY

    June 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Reply
  88. Truth BEFREE

    Racism exists everywhere and its the cancer that prevents society from moving beyond the superficiality of one's skin color. And it's definitely not just a US problem, Europeans were the first to trade slaves to the new world so let's not get facts twisted. Also, Eastern Europe seems so homogenized in its society and having a black man walk down the street and being something "new" doesn't quite make Eastern Europeans non racists. But if 1000 black men marched down a street singing, I'd like to see how any Eastern European city would react. That's the test ! Not just one but many! Peace.

    June 29, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Reply
  89. Vitinho

    Mr. Thomas:

    CNN is suprising me negatively more and more. The other day you this medium posted an article about athletes knowing their national anthem and whoever wrote the article decided to illustrate it with a pic of the Spanish national team, when everybody knows that Spain´s anthem has no lyrics at all.

    And now for an article about racism you bring forward the case of Balotelli. I am not questioning the fact that he may have been abused but, as some federations have received fines for the behavious of uncontrolled fans, Balotelli, a PROFESSIONAL, should have been equally fined after threatening to kill anybody who insulted him. Who is provoking here?

    Again, terrible lack of rigour and depth in the articles of CNN.

    June 29, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  90. Rayswanda

    Meanwhile we are denied a public discussion about massive immigration and "assimilation" imposed on ALL white countries and ONLY on white countries which is geNOcide.It`s only white people being treated this way.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

    July 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  91. Joe Opiyo

    And in Spain, racism has been institutionalized.

    July 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  92. HH

    @Rayswanda

    According to your reasoning, Puritans (mostly, if not all white) who moved to the New World and displaced millions of Native Americans (non-whites) should have picked up their bags and left.

    Is it wrong for someone to move to another country to have a better life? Sometimes factors (e.g the economy, crime, internal disorder) that people cannot control force them to move.

    July 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  93. Whale doggy

    A prank joke ,racism is simply a tool for intimidation.The colored man should desist from been inferior ,should not be sensitive to those racist chant,for a successful soccer player ,confident professional or contributor to a better society should ignored those chant as envious mechanism for distraction.as a colored man ,I'm an achiever ,better than majority of other color,black is a color ,just as yellow or pink a such.if someone of different color should direct race insult to my face without or with provocation,I would understand such fellow doing it ,simply because he lacks what I have.

    July 5, 2012 at 12:22 am | Reply
  94. Whale doggy

    Because you as a Color man have something they don't have,envious .

    July 5, 2012 at 6:55 am | Reply
  95. Sergio

    To those who say that racist insults are different because you're insulting something about the person that the person can't change, what if you insult someone's nationality? What if you call a short player a midget? These are insults that can apply to anyone regardless of color. So should steps be taken to eliminate these types of insults too?

    July 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  96. Manye

    TRUE Italians are not whites...they have black backgrounds dated many centuries ago so the next time they make racial comments they should check their bloodline and true history of where they truly come from.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:20 am | Reply
  97. John

    Racism can only show how ignorant people are. If it wasnt for Mario, Italy would not even get to the semis, but all he gets for his contribution is racist feedback. God help the whities!

    July 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  98. Akwasi Achireko kwagyan

    FIFA is just offering lip-service to the racial issue in soccer. Appeals will do nothing. Fines, in the $100,000 and 80% going to the victim is what will correct the many wrong brains

    July 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Reply
  99. J.C.Adamah

    If Sepp Blatter (FIFA BOSS) admits there is NO RACISM in football/soccer, how dare you 'attempt' to STOP RACISM???
    SMH...;-(

    He needs to quit as soon as possible!!!

    July 13, 2012 at 6:20 am | Reply
  100. GradyT

    Poor millionaires...go get a real problem...So, sensitive about name calling. That´s usually because it has some truth to it.

    July 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  101. Roberto

    I think that certain linguistic accommodations need to be made, as well. The Spanish word for black is "negro". When players start getting in trouble for speaking their native tongues, that is a problem, too.

    July 14, 2012 at 9:08 am | Reply
  102. mike

    Italians atimes turn crazy.............boo!

    July 16, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  103. Alon

    The racism excludes many talented soccer players from their love.I'm really sad about that.

    July 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  104. Tobie Mcward

    Hey, you used to write wonderful, but the last several posts have been kinda boring� I miss your tremendous writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

    July 18, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
  105. Davis Galiwango

    Man B. waz up? U know i like yo style and the way you play football, i and ma family wi love ya. Kip it up. no matter wat comes. Davis (Africa uganda) reply

    August 3, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  106. omalone1

    Anyone else read of Maradona being called a darkie whilst in spain?

    August 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  107. deo

    We pretend dairy we don't know they don't need us....but since we cherish money..we still remain victims of such painful situation...let's stay back home and see who will post funny images like such about you...and let's see who will detest your color of his or her.....FIFA don't care as already said FIFA needs money ..even if you are hurt to that extend situation will be claimed to look at but nothing serious happening to eradicate this kind of social scandal......you like it or not they will do that every minutes and every day...and none of them will never come to play in your country with an opportunity for you to make them feel same way you feel when abused ...

    August 15, 2012 at 2:44 am | Reply
  108. Orlando

    Wow! Racism is alive and well, I am London born, grew up in Jamaica and the US. Having lived in Jamaica where racism against blacks does also exist, among whites living there (mostly Europeans), but does not stop you from being the best at whatever you do. The reason being the majority of the country is black controlled (was not always the case). In the US and Europe the control of a black man's ability to achieve his goals by Whites is what makes racism in these countries a REAL PROBLEM for blacks. I am sure that a lot of the whites reading this are saying then go live in Jamaica. But the reality is if they were to live in Jamaica, they would not have to experience the same reality. In general blacks do not allow their racism to stop them from treating Whites fairly in decisions that affect them in business or their development in whatever fields they channel their energy in. All we want is to be treated fairly, is the White man afraid of the competition why he/she hides under the cloak of racism? If they truly believe they are superior then why not allow us to exist on an even playing field. Personally I know many whites who do allow this! Just not nearly enough.

    August 23, 2012 at 3:17 am | Reply
  109. N@pst@r

    UEFA and FIFA are not in the least bit interested in stopping racism, rather they are more interested in the financial aspect of the game. Case and points: When Porto fans racially abused Mario Balotelli in the Europa League, they were only made to pay £16,700,When Russian fans attacked stewards during their game against Poland in Euro 2012, they were fined £96,000.Again in the same tournament,Croatia paid £20,000in fines when their fans set off fireworks during a game.It gets better.UEFA fined Nicholas Bendtner 100,000 EUROS and banned him for one competitive game for flashing his displaying Paddy Power lucky underpants while celebrating his goal against Portugal,i.e. ambush marketing!!Fight racism?yeah right!!

    September 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply

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