With the 2018 World Cup in Russia fast approaching, all eyes are on the host country’s clear issue with racism. It’s been spoken about, discussed, dissected, and analyzed.
The one thing it hasn’t done is go away.
Yet again, Brazilian forward Hulk – one of the most notable and recognizable players in the Russian Premier League – has called out fans in a Russian stadium for racist chants directed at him.
The 29-year-old striker was substituted in stoppage time of a 2-2 draw at Spartak Moscow, and he sarcastically blew kisses to the crowd as he walked off the field. Hulk later confirmed he did that as a response to racist chants he was receiving from the Spartak fans.
“Unfortunately, the same things are happening – racism in the stands,” he said in comments published on Zenit’s official website. “I won’t pay any attention to this, as I have already talked about this. Therefore, I will continue to blow kisses and answer them with the way I play on the pitch. These things don’t even deserve to be discussed.”
As Hulk said, he’s already talked about this. A whole lot. Back in March, racist chants from Torpedo Moscow fans caused Zenit manager Andre Villas-Boas to label the opposing supporters a “disgrace.” In July, Hulk said there are racist chants in “almost every game” in Russia. Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong was suspended for two matches after showing fans an explicit gesture as a reaction to racist chants.