Paolo Berlusconi, the brother of AC Milan president and owner Silvio Berlusconi, was caught on camera using a racial slur when talking about Mario Balotelli.
Our own James Carr recently wrote that he believed the superstar Balotelli could be the guy who starts to calm the racial tensions that mar the game of soccer in Europe. While I agreed with Carr, apparently the VP of Balotelli’s own team doesn’t seem to be ready to change his racist views.
"Let's go and watch our household's little n***** [playing]," he said to laughter. "The girls here are all invited as well. They have the chance to meet with Silvio Berlusconi."
These remarks were made at a political rally and were received with laughter. Based on the video, it didn’t even seem like anyone batted an eye at his hate speech. Oh, and he went a little creepy old man by inviting all the “girls” to meet his brother. I’m sure that’s not the first time he’s used that slur or used his brother’s name to get play from women.
I’m not even sure what makes me angrier, the ease of how the word rolled off his tongue or that no one seemed to care enough to stop him. Sadly, this is par for the course in European football. John Terry had to be forced to apologize for his racial slurs against an opponent. Louis Suarez also has been guilty of using racial language. Kevin-Prince Boateng an AC Milan was abused by fans so much that he and his teammates walked off the field in January. Even more recently, American Jozy Altidore was the subject of racist taunts by fans of second-tier Dutch side FC Den Bosch.
Maybe the only way things will truly change is if all the minority players take a page from Boateng’s book and walk off. If the governing bodies and ownership won’t make the change the players may have to literally say they won’t play under these circumstances and be willing to leave their teams if they aren’t respected.
European soccer would not be the same without the contributions of minority athletes and it’s time they give these men their respect.