Brentford vs Arsenal gave us plenty to talk about but do not miss the importance of Gabriel Jesus’ post-goal celebration.
The Gunners’ brilliant Brazilian showcased a version of countryman Vinicius Jr’s goal dance, a note made much more poignant given the grief and racial animus driven toward the Real Madrid man this week.
Jesus spoke out on the matter after the game, saying, “The celebration was for my guy Vinicius Junior. It needs to stop and it was for him.”
[ MORE: What we learned from Brentford vs Arsenal ]
The racial attacks on Vinicius weren’t simply a matter of faceless ghouls on social media. Pedro Brava is the president of the Association of Spanish Agents and said that Vini needed to “respect your colleagues and stop playing the monkey.”
He has since apologized on Twitter, but Vinicius’ comments on Instagram were a strong and inspirational response. Real Madrid’s 22-year-old forward said plenty (full statement at bottom of post), part of which translates roughly to:
“Weeks ago, they started criminalizing my dances. Dances that are not mine. They belong to Ronaldinho, Neymar, Paquetá, Griezmann, João Félix, Matheus Cunha … they belong to Brazilian Funk and Samba artists, to reggaeton singers and to Black Americans. They are dances to celebrate the cultural diversity of the world. Accept it, respect it. I’m not going to stop. The script always ends with an apology and an ‘I’ve been misunderstood, but I’ll repeat it for you, racist: I will not stop dancing. Whether it’s in the Sambadrome, in the Bernabéu or wherever.”
Brazilian legend Pele also spoke out in support of Vinicius, saying,
“Football is joy. It’s a dance. It’s a real party. Although racism still exists, we will not allow that to stop us from continuing to smile. And we will continue to fight racism this way: fighting for our right to be happy.”
Gabriel Jesus goal video, Vinicius celebration dance
Right on, Vini. And rIght on Gabriel. There’s no room for racism in football.