Fifty Italian Serie A players took a survey from Gazzetta dello Sport, the results of which were published Thursday and revealed that many of those surveyed had heard a racist comment from a colleague, and depression can also hit professional athletes, among other revelations.
A sample size of 50 isn’t very large, but when 36 percent (18) of those players say they have heard racism from teammates, that number is still too large to be ignored. At the same time, only two of those players said they believe black players face a more difficult career path.
Of those surveyed, 29 said depression is a problem among Serie A players, while 12 admitted to having been depressed during their careers. The most recent high-profile case was national team goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who said he went through some “dark periods” in 2003 and 2004.
On the topic of homosexuality, 34 percent of the players surveyed said they thought being openly gay would jeopardize a player’s career. However, three of the 50 said they had played with an openly gay teammate.
The survey comes in a week in which AC Milan was forced to close its stadium for a game due to discriminatory chanting. Italy’s troubles with racism have been well documented in the past year.
Based on the group of 50 players Gazzetta surveyed, the Italian league is not a very tolerant place to play.