After the Madrid Derby on September 3rd, Pedro Bravo, a Spanish soccer agent, commenting on live TV said Vini Jr. “has to stop playing the monkey.”
“You [Vini jr.] have to respect the opponent. If you want to dance, go to the Sambadrome” in Brazil,” Bravo said, referring to the large arenas where dancers perform during Carnival.
“I want to leave a message for all Brazilians. The expression “playing a monkey” in Spain means making a fool of yourself. It’s not racist. But in the translation it was misunderstood.” explained Bravo.
The soccer player posted a picture of Real Madrid’s next game, with the caption: “Dance where you want.”
“I’m repeating it to you, racist,” Vini Jr. also said on Twitter. “I won’t stop dancing, whether it’s in the Sambadrome, Bernabeu [Real Madrid’s stadium] or wherever I want.”
Other Brazilian players also showed their support in and out of social media. Gabriel Jesus, current Arsenal player, made an Instagram post on the matter as well. “Dance and dance” wrote Jesus as the caption to a picture of him also dancing while celebrating his goal.
This is just one example of the racist attacks against Brazilian players these past few years.
During one of the friendly games for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, against Tunisia, fans on the stands started throwing bananas and plastic cups on the pitch while Richarlison De Andrade, who is dark-skinned, celebrated scoring a goal for his country.
Racism has always taken its part in soccer, especially in South America. The first strong attack against Brazil, that is still talked about to this day, happened around 100 years ago. The Brazilian National team participated in a friendly game in Argentina, and upon its arrival in the country, they were received with a not so welcoming article and cartoon, published in the newspaper Crítica.
The title and headline of the article are “Monkeys in Buenos Aires. A greeting to the Illustrious guests.” The cartoon shows the Brazilian players as monkeys and represents how they were seen in Argentina at the time. The author wrote “[Brazilians] are elements of color who dress like us and try to blend in with the American race, glorious for its past and great for its tradition.”
After seeing the article, multiple players refused to participate in the match, and it had to be improvised, played by seven players on each team. Brazil ended up losing 3 to 1.
That was in 1920, but the racism directed at Brazil’s players and other players of color continue to this day.
“As long as you continue to ‘blah blah blah’ and not punish, it will continue like this, happening every day and in every corner. No time left, man!” Richarlison tweeted in Portuguese.