Real Madrid – “Stop playing the monkey”: Vinicius Jr affair, what is Spain waiting for to act against racism?

If you want to dance the samba, you go to the Sambadrome, in Brazil. Here, what you have to do is respect your colleagues and stop pretending“. This is how Pedro Bravo, president of the Spanish association of footballers’ agents on the set of the Chiringuito, a highly dispensable but regularly resumed program, especially in France because a good shortcut exposed on social networks is always worth more than a substantiated reflection , spoke of Vinicius Jr. Sitting opposite him, Tomás Roncero, editor-in-chief of the Real Madrid section of Diario AS, may retort that such remarks are inadmissible, his interlocutor does not budge.

The controversy swelled. Vinicius Jr himself responded in a video message posted on Twitter. Pedro Bravo blundered into an excuse, explaining that it was a metaphor for saying the Brazilian was fooling around. Except he didn’t say “stop fooling around” and that makes a big difference. As for Josep Pedrerol, the presenter of the show, yet usually so quick to distribute anathemas, he did not first send a formal apology. is he content to share a hashtag #BailaVini (Vini dance) by retweeting the Brazilian’s response. It was only after el eterno derbi won Sunday evening by Real Madrid (1-2) that he explicitly asked for forgiveness But a pardon which is not one and which is even revealing as it is overwhelming.

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Because if, indeed, in Spain, “no hacer el mono” is a colloquial expression meaning “don’t be silly“, these words have a context and this one is denied. Pedrerol attacks the “vultures” and others “geek“social networks that would have escalated the controversy and castigates”all the hypocrisy in this world that disgusts him a little“. This is called reversal of evidence: the victim would have misunderstood, wouldn’t the victim be exaggerating a little anyway? And Vinicius’ supporters would be raptors, of course.

Not as if the Chiringuinto was the most populist and eye-catching thing, a sewer, a paradise of “periodismo de bufanda” (remember that, regarding “outrageous” celebrations, Tomás Roncero had taken the exact opposite position when it was about Neymar when he was playing at Barça), which always finds echoes on social networks and journalists from other editorial staff who prefer these nauseating hints rather than hindsight and reflection. For Pedrerol and his show, there will be no consequences: there will always be more than a million viewers on average each evening and millions of views on Twitch. And maybe even Florentino Pérez, who has his habits there, will quickly forget his threats of legal action to reappear there in the near future.

Vinicius Jr celebrates by dancing against Atlético

Credit: Getty Images

The victim is still guilty

At the root of Pedro Bravo’s words, there is the Real Madrid-RCD Mallorca match. Vinicius scores a superb goal and dances as he is used to. Unbearable for Javier Aguirre, coach of the Balearic team, who asks his players to break the Brazilian, as shown by the cameras of the program El Día Después. And instead of attacking Aguirre who claims to punish a player who gives emotions, who breathes football, who dares, who tries, who succeeds, it is Vinicius who has been targeted!

Playing with a smile, giving happiness, dancing, that has no place on a football field, come on! Where were you educated, you filthy bunch?! Better to attack the artists and castigate the genius rather than a coach, certainly historic in La Liga, but whose precepts of play died with the twist. No doubt, when he goes to the Prado, he prefers to go into ecstasies in front of the fire extinguishers than in front of the Velasquez… At a time when everything is counted, scrutinized, piled up in Excel tables so full that they become meaningless , it is the one who creates imbalance, gives chills who is pilloried. Excuse him for being fabulous, he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Clichés conveyed and reinforced by the press

In Spain, this kind of talk like that of Pedro Bravo, “explained” by Josep Pedrerol, is commonplace. Not only at the counter of a bistro, but also in the press. This ordinary racism à la Dupont Lajoie exposes itself shamelessly. In 2018, part of the sports media described the France team as “the first African nation to be world champions”. All the clichés swirled around in nauseating writings tending to show that France had added a second star only thanks to colonization in Africa and that it was unfair competition.

This summer, Marca released a front page featuring Real Madrid players of or presumed to be of African descent with a bush setting in the background. Only Rafiki, Timon and Pumba were missing. We are in uninhibited racism and Spain has a real problem with that, even though, through its artistic influences, it is the fruit of religious syncretism. This richness lies precisely in this centuries-old history. Diversity is constitutive of the Spanish identity and, more than elsewhere, racism is antithetical to the very construction and heritage of the country.

The front page of Marca “Africa Power” of June 27, 2022 is controversial (credits: Marca)

Credit: Other Agency

Spain to the tune of the Poppys

Spain’s racism-related scandals also reveal great hypocrisy. Clubs are mostly deaf, blind and dumb when it comes to their players or supporters but much more vindictive when it comes to one of their players. There is no awareness and it is not the “Together vs Racism” campaign organized last March by LaLiga and EA Sports (!) that will move things forward.

How can you believe it when you know that Javier Tebas chaired a Falangist group? That the investigation into the alleged insults uttered by Juan Cala against Mouctar Diakhaby during Cádiz-Valencia 2021, despite the publication of audios, fizzled? That during this match, the Blanquinegros were threatened with a withdrawal if they did not return to the lawn, that it was Diakhaby who was forced to stay in the locker room and that Cala himself returned without problem and continued thereafter to provoke in the press and on social networks the Franco-Guinean?

For 30 years, racist incidents have taken place in the stands as well as on the lawn. For Samuel Eto’o, Dani Alves, Iñaki Williams, Michael Malsa, Eder Militao, Carlos Akapo, Mouctar Diakhaby and all the others, it’s always the same refrain: stopping the match would prove the racists right. Giving in to bullshit remains the norm. Move along, nothing to see. On Sunday evening, when the Real Madrid bus arrived at the Metropolitano, some of the Atlético supporters sang “Vinicius you are a monkey”. LaLiga has taken up the case, but what will be the concrete consequences of such acts? We are used to nothing happening. And it is wrong to get used to it because you end up resigning yourself and there is nothing worse.

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