In a disturbing twist, Brescia ultras released a statement defending Hellas Verona fans after racist abuse and calling Mario Balotelli “arrogant.”
This is the latest chapter in an increasingly ugly saga, after Balotelli kicked the ball into the stands during the 2-1 defeat to Verona, as he heard racist ‘monkey noises’ coming from a group of ultras.
Verona coach Ivan Juric, President Maurizio Setti and even the Mayor of Verona all rushed to defend the fans, claiming there was no racist abuse, even when it was caught on video and clearly audible.
Now there is another even more shocking turn of events, as a group of Brescia ultras – Balotelli’s club – have come out against the striker and in favour of Luca Castellini, the Verona fan who was banned until 2030 after aiming a series of racist slurs at the player in an interview.
“If Balotelli was not ready psychologically to face the Verona fanbase and, above all, such a delicate match in which our city and our coach – among the most beloved figures – was taking his final chance at saving his job, then he should’ve said so and left his place to someone less… irritable than him. None of us would’ve been upset if he had, quite the contrary…” read the statement.
“The personal declarations of one of the leaders of the Verona Curva cannot justify the witch-hunt sparked by the media and institutions in yet another attempt to criminalise and destroy the entire Ultras world.
“This does not mean that certain chants are legitimate or acceptable, but nor are all Verona fans racists and the Verona Curva some sort of KKK coven.
“Entire fanbases cannot be considered racist, but racism does exist and it is often used to create mass panic in public opinion. This unconventional language is used more and more by public and political figures, but of course nobody would think of banning them because of some code of ethics.
“We have absolutely no doubts that Balotelli is to all intents Italian, and even a Bresciano, but the arrogance that he continually gives off is unjustifiable.
“The notorious ‘Balotellate’ antics are now all too well known. What matters more to us are the spirit of sacrifice, passion respect, motivation and sweating for the shirt, concepts that seem to be entirely unknown to him.
“We condemn any gesture or provocation that is clearly hostile and discriminatory, but, we also want to give our solidarity to those who once again saw their liberty destroyed. This time it wasn’t even by the authorities, who considered his behaviour not that serious, but by his own club.”
This is very similar to the note written by Inter ultras 'reassuring' Romelu Lukaku that the monkey noises Cagliari ultras made towards him where not a racist insult, but rather a 'compliment' to show how much they feared him and wanted to put him off his stride.
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