Ghanaian international Sulley Muntari was subjected to racist abuse during a Serie A match on Sunday, and he couldn’t find support from anyone. He was yellow carded for dissent for asking the referee to do something about it, then didn’t exactly get wholehearted support from his coach afterwards.
The incident happened during a match between Pescara — Muntari’s team — and Cagliari. After being booked, Muntari opted to walk off the pitch before the match ended.
“[The referee] told me I should not talk to the crowd. I asked him if had heard the insults,” Muntari said. “I insisted that he must have the courage to stop the game. The referee should not just stay on the field and blow the whistle, he must do everything. He should be aware of these things and set an example. I am not a victim. But if you stop the matches I am convinced that these things won’t happen any more.”
After Muntari was shown a yellow card, he walked off the pitch and handed his shirt to the young fan who was hurling the racist insults, saying he “needed to set an example so he grows up to be nice.”
Muntari’s manager, Zdenek Zeman, wasn’t exactly supportive of the way his player handled the situation. “Muntari has abandoned the pitch because of racist chants but we should not take justice into our own hands,” he said, though he added that Italy needs “a change of mentality” when it comes to dealing with racism in soccer.
Someday, an incident like this might inspire authorities to make serious changes in Italy. But the current president of the Italian FA is a vocal racist, so it’s unlikely to be this one.