Tottenham Hotspur forward and Brazil international Richarlison was racially abused on Tuesday after a fan threw a banana at him during their friendly match against Tunisia in France. According to CNN, the banana was thrown at the 25-year-old while he was celebrating a goal he scored for his national team.
The incident clouded what was an impressive 5-1 win over their North African opponents. In the wake of the abuse, Richarlison’s teammate Fred was spotted kicking the banana away from the field.
Following the match, Richarlison shared a post on Twitter saying, “As long as they stay ‘blah blah blah’ and don’t punish, it will continue like this, happening every day and everywhere. No time bro! #racismonao [racism no].”
The South American nation’s football federation also condemned the incident in a statement. “Unfortunately a banana was thrown on the pitch towards Richarlison, scorer of the second Brazilian goal,” the CBF shared on Twitter. “The CBF reinforces its position to combat racism and repudiates any manifestation of prejudice.”
The president of the federation, Ednaldo Rodrigues, also called for harsher punishments to be handed out to such perpetrators. “This time, I saw it with my own eyes. This shocks us. We must always remember that we are all equal, regardless of color, race or religion,” he stated.
“The fight against racism is not a cause, but a fundamental change to sweep this type of crime from the planet. I insist on saying that the punishments need to be more severe.”
Before the match started, the Brazil players stood behind a board that read: “Without our black players, we wouldn’t have stars on our shirt.” The stars are in reference to the World Cups the South American nation has won.
The gesture by the players was to show support to their teammate Vinicius Jr. The Real Madrid star, who is Afro-Brazilian, was subjected to racist abuse during their tense match with rival city club Atletico Madrid. Fans of Atletico Madrid reportedly made monkey noises at the 22-year-old forward before and during the course of the game.
“They say that happiness bothers,” Vinicius said in reference to what happened during their match against Atletico Madrid. “The happiness of a victorious black Brazilian in Europe bothers much more.
“But my desire to win, my smile and the sparkle in my eyes are much bigger than that. You can’t even imagine it. I was a victim of a xenophobic and racist comment. But none of that started yesterday.
“Weeks ago they began to criminalize my dances. Dances that are not mine.
“They belong to Ronaldinho, Neymar, [Lucas] Paqueta, [Antoine] Griezmann, Joao Felix, Matheus Cunha … they belong to Brazilian funk and samba artists, reggaeton singers, and black Americans.
“Those are dances to celebrate the cultural diversity of the world. Accept it, respect it. I’m not going to stop.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino also condemned Tuesday’s incident, per CNN.
“FIFA strongly rejects any form of racism and violence and has a very clear zero tolerance stance against such behaviour in football,” Infantino, who attended Tuesday’s match at the Parc des Princes, said on Wednesday. “FIFA will investigate the incident in yesterday’s game in Paris.”