Ster­ling slams Juve star for blam­ing vic­tim of racist abuse

Daily Mail - - Football - By IAN HER­BERT

RA­HEEM STER­LING has again taken up the bat­tle against racism in foot­ball, ridi­cul­ing Ju­ven­tus de­fender Leonardo Bonucci for claim­ing that a 19-year-old team-mate should take ‘50-50’ of the blame for be­ing ra­cially abused by fans. Moise Kean was sub­jected to mon­key chants against Cagliari on Tues­day night, but after scor­ing the se­cond goal at the Sardegna Arena he cel­e­brated in front of abu­sive home fans. Bonucci said: ‘Moise shouldn’t have done that and the Curva (Cagliari’s fans) should not have re­acted that way. ‘We are pro­fes­sion­als, we have to set the ex­am­ple and not pro­voke any­one.’ Juve man­ager Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri also crit­i­cised Kean. Ster­ling — who last week pow­er­fully ar­tic­u­lated the in­dig­na­tion felt by Eng­land’s play­ers ra­cially abused in Mon­tene­gro — pro­vided a brief, ro­bust re­sponse. ‘The blame is 50-50 @bonuc­cileo19,’ he posted on so­cial me­dia, along­side a num­ber of laugh­ing and ap­plause emo­jis. ‘All you can do now is laugh.’ Yaya Toure de­scribed the Cagliari episode as ‘a dis­grace’. He told the Equal Game con­fer­ence or­gan­ised by UEFA and the FA at Wem­b­ley that a more fun­da­men­tal dis­crim­i­na­tion lay be­hind the prospects of for­mer play­ers like Di­dier Drogba and Sa­muel Eto’o be­com­ing man­agers. Italy is plagued by some of the most en­trenched racism in Europe which the or­gan­i­sa­tion Foot­ball Against Racism in Europe (FARE) says is a prod­uct of a xeno­pho­bic po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment. ‘They’ve al­ways had a prob­lem with racism,’ said Piara Powar, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of FARE. ‘There are old is­sues, with crum­bling sta­di­ums, an Ul­tra fan cul­ture in which the left wing have lost out to the right and cen­tre. ‘The en­vi­ron­ment (for black play­ers) has been made more hos­tile by politi­cians who char­ac­terise those who help im­mi­grants as peo­ple traf­fick­ers.’ Kean’s for­mer Juve team­mate Parice Evra con­grat­u­lated him for ‘stand­ing up to them and show­ing them who is boss’. Ju­ven­tus cap­tain Gior­gio Chiellini de­fended Kean, say­ing: ‘I’ve seen the pic­tures of Moise and he didn’t do any­thing wrong.’ Bonucci re­sponded last night with an­other post, say­ing he had been ‘mis­un­der­stood’ and adding: ‘I firmly con­demn all forms of racism and dis­crim­i­na­tion.’

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