Lilian Thuram is shocked by Verona’s reaction to the racist abuse aimed at Mario Balotelli, calling coach Ivan Juric “a very dangerous person who should be suspended.”
The Brescia forward kicked the ball into the stands aimed at the precise section where audible ‘monkey noises’ were coming from during Sunday’s Serie A game at the Stadio Bentegodi.
Despite the fact even the Federation representative on the touchline heard and reported the racist abuse, and it was caught on video, Juric, President Maurizio Setti and the Mayor of Verona all insisted there was no racism.
“We have to tell people that there is history behind racism and it’s not true that it comes from ignorance,” former Parma and Juventus star Thuram told Radio 24.
“History proves that racist people genuinely believe in these ideals, much like with sexism. If someone believes in the inferiority of another race or gender, he is not stupid, he genuinely believes in this.
“It is also very dangerous to think of monkey noises as banter. It is not a normal thing to do. We need everyone to point that out, that this is unacceptable.
“This is why I say the Verona coach is a very dangerous person who should be suspended for what he said.
“He said that he didn’t hear anything wrong, that is the danger. When someone is attacked, others have to come to their aid, not expect the person under attack to defend himself.
“When all the players walk off the pitch together, that is when things will change quickly. Racism is violence.”
Hellas Verona did, however, ban ultras leader Luca Castellini until June 2030 after he used a series of racial slurs against Balotelli during an interview.
“This gentleman says such things because there is history behind it, he believes nationality derives from the colour of your skin,” continued Thuram.
“Racism is in the stadium, but what about society? Many say they are not racist, but do nothing for equality. The world of football must understand this is not a joke, it has real world consequences.
“I’ve known racism before, during and after my playing career. What white player went to his fans and told them to stop it? Nobody. The only coach that I know who openly said he would walk off is Carlo Ancelotti. It is white players and coaches who must stand up and have the courage to say, enough is enough.”
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