Leonardo Bonucci has been roundly criticized for comments he made after teammate Moise Kean was subjected to racist abuse during Juventus’ 2-0 victory over Cagliari on Tuesday.
Whereas Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri called for the fans hurling racist abuse at Juve and Italy’s 19-year-old rising star to be banned for life, Bonucci said, “I think the blame is 50-50, because Moise shouldn’t have [celebrated like that] and the [fans] should not have reacted that way.”
A number of the game’s most prominent black stars, including Raheem Sterling and Memphis Depay, hit back directly at Bonucci for all to see, while the likes of Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Mario Balotelli, among others, have posted full-throated support of Kean on social media.
(Google Translate: As captain of Juventus I am disappointed in your reaction, the boy can rejoice as he wants. His role is essential for his team and he plays with great pride for his country Italy. He must be respected for this.)
Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini’s comments on the matter were equally un-empathetic and slanted — quotes from the Guardian:
“I don’t want people to start being self-righteous about it, because I heard that already, whereas Juventus players came to me afterwards and confessed Kean was wrong to celebrate that way.
“We cannot go around calling the entire Cagliari crowd offensive things. If there were racist jeers, then our fans got it wrong, but it happened because of the celebration and would’ve happened even if the goalscorer had a different color of skin.”