By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
When life throws racist innuendos in the form of bananas your way, what do you do? Barcelona’s Dani Alves picked it up and immediately took a bite during a soccer match at Villarreal last Sunday.
Alves is a Brazilian, playing for Barcelona. Evidently, someone in the stands didn’t appreciate Alves’ presence. At the time, he was about to take a corner kick when the banana flew from the stands and landed at his feet. With no hesitation, Alves picked up the banana, took a bite, and proceeded to go through with the kick.
In the past, racism has been dealt with by walking off the field, like then AC Milan’s Kevin Prince-Boateng in 2013. However, utilizing humor to belittle the culprits while still bringing attention to the problem has appeared to be a better option.
After the match, Alves posted a clip of the incident on Instagram with a caption joking about how his father always told him to eat bananas to prevent cramps.
He later told reporters, “We have suffered this in Spain for some time. You have to take it with a dose of humor. We aren’t going to change things easily. If you don’t give it importance, they don’t achieve their objective.”
Justice was served when Barcelona won 3-2. Also, Villarreal located the perpetrator and withdrew his membership as well as banning him from the El Madrigal Stadium for life, stating the club “deeply regrets” what happened.
The world was quick to stand in support behind Alves. His teammates, as well as fans and celebrities, sent tweets of praise as well as pictures of themselves with bananas, using hashtags such as #noalracismo and #weareallmonkeys. Even the president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association tweeted, “What @DaniAlvesD2 tolerated last night is an outrage. We must fight all forms of discrimination united. Will be zero tolerance at WorldCup.”
Still, racism is a problem in the world of soccer. CNN reported that not many Spanish authorities or media have addressed the incident, saying this sort of behavior is not accepted but tolerated as part of the game. Let’s learn this lesson Alves imparted with his phenomenal response and do our bit to end the ridiculous reality that is racism.