Here’s what you should know from Spanish soccer’s Atlético Madrid and Levante’s game yesterday: Atlético, top of the Spanish league, dropped three valuable points against mid-table Levante when they lost 2-0. Atlético’s loss breathes new life into crosstown rivals Real Madrid and Catalan giants Barcelona, who are also still in the La Liga title hunt, and could gain ground on Los Rojiblancos.
This is what you will know: Spanish fans displayed more mind-numbingly racist chants yesterday afternoon, following closely on the heels of a Villareal fan’s throwing of a banana at Barcelona’s Dani Alves. And so it was when traveling Atlético fans bombarded Levante’s Senegalese player Papakouli Diop with monkey chants at the end of the match after Diop punted the ball off the field. Diop then inexplicably answered their calls by dancing like a monkey, which initially set off the Atlético players before they realized, “hey, our fans are acting like assholes,” and dragged Diop away.
This sort of behavior isn’t new from Spanish soccer fans nor can squashing it be as simple as a life-long ban or voting it out of the league. In the case of European racism, nations that were formerly ethnically homogenous–or simply lacking black people–are seeing waves of immigrants come from Northern Africa and the Middle East. And because many of these countries still have economies in the sh*tter–like Spain–immigrants and people who look like immigrants (Africans plying their trade in European soccer) take the heat from nationalists who trumpet the “get off my lawn!” ideology and view them as the reason why everyone’s broke.
Anyways. Diop responded, telling AS the following:
“It’s an issue that has affected me a lot. I went to take a corner and part of the Atlético support started doing monkey chants. To take the heat out of the situation, I started to dance, but I didn’t insult anyone.”
“I don’t have anything against the Atlético supporters because it was only a section of their support that shouted at me. I think it’s disrespectful that it happens at all stadiums. It’s a provocation. I don’t know if it can be called racism, but the monkey chanting has to be stopped now.”
The offending fans have not yet been identified.