African Soccer Player - Racist Italian Newspaper

Euro 2012: Italian newspaper shows striker Mario Balotelli as King Kong atop Big Ben prior to Italy's match against England 

Prior to Italy's clash with England in Euro 2012, La Gazzetta dello Sport shows Balotelli, who is black, swatting soccer balls while atop Big Ben. Racism has been a concern at the European Championships, and Balotelli had said earlier that racism is unacceptable in 2012.

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Updated: Monday, June 25, 2012, 3:19 PM

Players competing in Euro 2012 were concerned that racism could be a problem with fans in Poland and Ukraine. They probably didn’t expect to be the subject of racial insensitivity in the press.
On Sunday an Italian newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport, published a photo-illustration of Italy’s star striker, Mario Balotelli, as King Kong atop Big Ben swatting away soccer balls.
Although the intent of the cartoon seemed to be that Balotelli and the Italians would topple England, the execution was clearly done in poor taste. Italy won the match in a shootout, 4-2.

Before the tournament kicked off, Balotelli — who was born in Palermo but is of Ghanainan descent — addressed his concerns about racism in Poland and Ukraine, the co-hosts for the European Championships.
“Let’s see what happens at the Euro. I hope that there will not be a problem,” he told France Footall. “Because I really can’t handle that.”
“I cannot bear racism, it’s unacceptable for me. If it had happened again I would straight away leave the pitch and go home. We are in 2012. It can’t happen,” the 21-year-old added.

Despite efforts to stem any racist outbursts, racism has been an issue at the month-long tournament. In Italy’s group-play match against Croatia, Croatian fans directed racist chants at Balotelli and a banana was thrown onto the pitch during the match. The Croatian Football Federation was fined 80,000 euros ($106,000) last week for their fans’ actions.

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