Frimpong’s racist abuse in Russian League opener yields more World Cup concerns (video)

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The Russian Premier League kicked off on Friday and the top story to come out of the weekend was unfortunately racism.

Ugh.

Former Arsenal prospect Emmanuel Frimpong was tossed from Ufa’s match at Spartak Moscow when he reacted to fans hurling monkey noises at him by flipping them the bird and swearing at them.

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Red card.

Racists 1, Frimpong 0.

And before you even start with a, “Well, players need to be bigger than that”, take a listen to it:

It’s honestly hard to watch, knowing that a human being is at both ends of the abuse. Not to say we’re naive enough to think it never happens, but on opening day for a fan to be that hopped up to put his ignorance and hatred on full display? Brutal. What’s worse? These quotes from Hulk on how he’s rationalized the behavior. From Soccerly:

“In the past I myself felt offended and was really angered with these racist outbreaks. But neither referees nor football officials here pay serious attention to this problem. “That’s why I now try not to get angry. I just blow kisses to those who try to offend me.”

And players in Russia aren’t just upset about it, they are worried about the repercussions for the nation’s clubs if this racism is on display at the World Cup in 2018. Hulk said as much, as did Ezequiel Garay. Perhaps most telling, though, is Frimpong.

Granted the language is a bit broken, but there’s something to him ending with, “We live on.” This is a fairly depressing tale, and I know from past posts that there will be several who jump to the defense of Russia here.

And surely, this happens other places (including here in the U.S.). But in this one, where boycott worries already exist, the dark moments seem a bit more grim.