Players on FK Rostov are standing up against the racial comments of their Russian Premier League team manager.
Perhaps better put: they are sitting out.
Days after Rostov manager Igor Gamula made a number of racist comments, calling black players “things” and making an Ebola joke, African players are refusing to train.
Agent Paul Mitchell says the club’s five African players “are not prepared to train under the current coach until such time as the situation has been dealt with.”
Mitchell is the agent for Rostov defender Siyanda Xulu (pictured, left), a South Africa international.
Rostov is one of the host cities for the 2018 World Cup.
Rostov’s other African players are Moussa Doumbia (Mali), Bastos (Angola), Igor Lolo (Ivory Coast) and Guélor Kanga (Gabon). All have represented their nations, though that obviously doesn’t matter when it comes to discrimination.
An American journalist friend of mine who had worked in Russia told me his outlets have had him rewrite American references to racism because they wouldn’t be easily understood over there, so it’s clearly a much different culture. Still, it’s very surprising Rostov or the Russian league haven’t stepped in to force, at the very very least, an apology, suspension or termination. Troubling, even.