Call A Spade A Spade
In a staggering letter, the Curva Nord section of Internazionale supporters in Italy, have described monkey chanting aimed at Romelu Lukaku as not only not racially motivated but acted out of some form of “respect.”
When Lukaku scored the winner against Cagliari at the weekend, the monkey chants began.
The same thing happened to Moise Kean last season, when playing for Juventus, again against Cagliari. In that instance, 31-year-old club captain Leonardo Bonucci, actually put the blame at 50-50. Instead of him sticking up for the 19-year-old, as an older player & as captain should, he hung him out to dry. As did Max Allegri.
No wonder he left for Everton in the summer.
But this letter from Curva Nord, addressed on Facebook to Lukaku, really is something else altogether.
They have essentially pinned the blame on Lukaku’s ‘misunderstanding’ of events. They have also said that Italy does not have a problem with racism, like many other North European countries & that they only do it to ‘help their teams.’
Here it is in full:
We are writing you on behalf of Curva Nord, yes the guys who welcomed you at your arrival in Milan.
We are really sorry you thought that what happened in Cagliari was racist.
You have to understand that Italy is not like many other north european countries where racism is a REAL problem.
We understand that it could have seemed racist to you but it is not like that.
In Italy we use some “ways” only to “help our teams” and to try to make our opponents nervous, not for racism but to mess them up.
We are a multiethnic fans organization and we have always welcomed players from everywhere. However, we have always used that “way” with other teams’ players in the past and we probably will in the future.
We are not racist and so are not the Cagliari fans.
You have to understand that in all Italian stadiums people cheer for their teams but at the same time they use to cheer against the opponents not for racism but to “help” their own team.
Please consider this attitude of Italian fans as a form of respect for the fact they are afraid of you for the goals you might score against their teams and not because they hate you or they are racist.
True racism is a completely different story and all Italian football fans know it very well.
When you declare that racism is a problem to be fought in Italy you just help the repression against all football fans including us and you contribute to create a problem that is not really there, not in the way that is perceived in other countries.
We are very sensitive and inclusive with all people. We guarantee you that in our organization there are many fans of different races or fans coming from other parts of Italy that also use this ways to provocate their opponents even when the have the same races or are coming from the same areas.
Please help us to clarify what racism really is and that Italian fans are not racist.
The fight to REAL racism has to begin in schools not in the stadiums, fans are just fans and they behave in different ways when inside the stadium as opposed to when they are in real life.
I guarantee you that what they do or say to an opponent player of another race is not what they would ever say to someone they would meet in real life.
Italian fans may not be perfect and we can understand your frustration with this expressions but they are definitely not meant to be racist.
Once again ...
None of this is acceptable. It is racist and needs to be called as such. Many Inter fans have taken to Twitter to do the whole distancing thing - ‘it’s not us, it’s them - they don’t represent us.’
But they do. They do represent you. That is the point.
Now is the time to take collective ownership of racism in football. It is all of our shame & all of our responsibility.
We need to call it out at every turn. Fight it in every dark corner & give players & fans a universal church in which they can play & enjoy the game.
Words by J.S. Leatherbarrow. Artwork by FATC staff. All rights reserved.