Obscene legal defence of Vinicius Junior racism illustrates depth of problem

Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior has had to endure a torrid season of racial abuse that would be enough to sink many players, but he has instead catalysed action on the matter.

La Liga have asked for more powers to punish racial abuse, and the sentences are gradually getting harsher, even if many would argue they are a long way from sufficient still. However the legal defence of one of those who were caught abusing Vinicius at Mestalla shows just how far there is to go.

During the match against Valencia, Vinicius pointed out several members of the crowd who he saw making monkey noises and gestures.

Three younger Valencia fans were arrested, and are now facing charges in court. As reported by Diario AS, the defence that one of their lawyer’s Manuel Izquierdo put forward, is scarcely believable.

“My client is charged with a hate crime for scratching his armpits,” he said of the monkey gestures.

“It is not a problem of racism. Vinicius has a problem with manners, he has a cocky attitude.”

Izquierdo’s attitude is typical of some of the victim blaming that has taken place during racial incidents this season. He also felt that his client had been treated unfairly by Valencia, who have taken away his membership and banned him for life.

“[They did so] without allowing my client to give his version or defend himself.”

“I am outraged with Valencia because they have screwed up the life of an 18-year-old boy. My client has a degenerative disease and goes to the games to enjoy himself. The situation is very serious because they have banned him from entering for life.”

That Izquierdo feels this is a credible excuse or explanation for racial abuse is ignorant at best, and extremely racist at worst. Dismissing that the event happened, and dismissing the idea that comparing Vinicius to an animal because of the colour of his skin is racist in itself, is deeply problematic. The legal system must ensure it defends the rights of its citizens, in this case Vinicius, and allowing this explanation to fly would be the opposite of that.

Tags Real Madrid Valencia Vinicius Junior

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