April 28, 2014, BARCELONA, Spain (ISN) – Barcelona has defended Dani Alves for his response to a racist taunt and teammate Neymar posted a photo of himself with a peeled banana on the internet in support.
Alves, who is black, was about to take a corner in Sunday’s 3-2 win at Villarreal when a banana was thrown at him. The Brazil international picked it up, peeled it and ate some of it before throwing the rest aside.
After the match, Alves said humour was the best way to combat racism in sport.
“Barcelona wishes to express its complete support and solidarity with our first team player Dani Alves, following the insults he was subject to from a section of the crowd at El Madrigal on Sunday,” the Spanish league champions said Monday in a statement. “Barcelona urges all clubs to continue fighting against the blight on the game which any kind of aggression against a sportsperson on the basis of their race represents.”
Neymar posted a photo of himself on Instagram holding a peeled banana alongside his son, who was holding a doll that resembled a banana, with the hashtag message “we are all monkeys.”
Besides Neymar, fellow Brazil teammates Hulk and Fred also lent support via their social media accounts.
Argentina striker Sergio Aguero and Brazil women’s striker Marta both posed for photos while biting into bananas, while former Brazil international Roberto Carlos also posted an internet photo of himself with the fruit.
“We have suffered this in Spain for some time,” Alves said Sunday. “You have to take it with a dose of humour. We aren’t going to change things easily. If you don’t give it importance, they don’t achieve their objective.”
The match referee included the 75th-minute incident in his match report, so Villarreal could face a fine.
Alves has often been subjected to racist taunts and called fighting racism “a lost war” in January 2013 after segments of Real Madrid’s fans abused him with monkey chants during a match. Madrid defender Marcelo, who is also Brazilian, was also recently greeted with monkey chants by a section of Atletico Madrid fans this season.
Former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o was convinced not to walk off at Zaragoza in 2006 after fans berated the Cameroon striker with racist chants. Two years earlier, Spain fans at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium infamously greeted England’s black players with monkey chants during an international friendly match.