Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr. is proof that La Liga has a racism problem
American sports, of course, have many problems. The fan culture here can be highly toxic and sometimes the teams can be complicit (hi NHL). Social media certainly has a role to play where the real nastiness lies, but occasionally it spills over into the actual stands. There is plenty to work with. But it has been decades since we saw such things in our fields. Unfortunately, this is not the case in La Liga, where Real Madrid player Vinicius Jr. racist abuse from fansand somehow got a red card for it.
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It gets worse somehow. President of La Liga and then tried to blame Vinicius Jr. for the treatment he has received several times this season in La Liga.
Solving racism is not Vinicius’ job
What does the league need to explain to Vinicius? Everything is on video and on Twitter. Why is it Brazil’s job to educate the authorities on what needs to be done? The answers are simple. Matches must be stopped, canceled and the home team must be forfeited by the referee of the match. Players on both sides must leave. Huge fines for clubs that do nothing to curb the worst of their fans. The answers are simple, but Javier Tebas wants to blame Vinicius for his league not taking them.
What we get instead is broadcasters and journalists trying to claim that Vinicius Jr. provoked the crowd, and what did he really expect? He can’t even really get the support of his club, not completely because it’s REAL MADRID. If they wanted serious changes in La Liga, they always get it. Instead, he can only expect more responsibility and more blame for daring to be black, play for Madrid and be one of the best in the world.
And it’s been like that all season. He has repeatedly been the subject of vile chants and jeers in stadiums across Spain and nothing is changing. Even better, La Liga should get out of Valencia today. That would be a punishment with some teeth.
We didn’t see anything different from the fans either the Mexican national team and homophobic chants. Matches were suspended, even the most recent National League final. But they never left. Mexico has never lost because of it, even though it’s in the rule book. What football player would have the power to rely only on organizations like La Liga or the FMF throw them under the bus immediately?
Leagues need to be made accountable
Of course, this is not only a problem in Spain. Italy just saw an episode like this with Romelu Lukaku. It is widespread in Eastern Europe. And yet nothing seems to change. FIFA sends out a nasty press statement, so does UEFA, and we just move on to the next one.
In some ways, it would serve La Liga right to lose one of its leading lights and watch Vinicius walk out the door due to a lack of protection. Or if any black player simply refuses to sign for a Spanish club and their place in world football collapses almost immediately. And yet it seems too easy. But we still can’t expect La Liga to do much better.
The Boston Celtics fell big against Miami
The Celtics are still the team everyone thinks of as the Maple Leafs. While the Leafs seem to really want to bring it all home to their psychotic fan base and are always hurt by the vitriol thrown at them, the Ck have always seemed to be miserable together 90 percent of the time. The other 10 percent, just like last spring, is an incredible group. And then whatever this series is against the Heat, a barely assembled collection of wing talents all too happy to blame each other for what went wrong at a moment’s notice.
Ime Udoka had will or discipline to keep everyone on the same page for at least one season. Brad Stevens never knew, of course, as he kept shoveling the ball to Gordon Hayward. Joe Mazzulla gave him that job when Idoka had to be fired, so it’s unfair to keep this clearly abundant but clearly complicated collection of talent pulling in the same direction.
But when it gets loose, it really gets loose. Hanging out in a must-win game suggests a team that doesn’t want to be there anymore. So was the complete lack of struggle. If Doc Rivers wasn’t frozen in the headlights and James Harden wasn’t turning into cardboard on a regular basis in the playoffs, the Cs would probably be worse off, and they should be.
It’s been a magical spring at TD Garden. Miami went ahead and took it from them.
What does Ryan Suter do?
Dallas Stars guard Ryan Suter has always played the game at 75 percent speed, which was fine when he read every play three seconds before it happened and was simply in the right spot before anyone else thought he was there. He never had to sprint or even check. But that kind of game doesn’t tend to work at 38, and instead of always being in control, you’re just slow:
The Stars absolutely smothered the Knights in Game 2, Vegas wasn’t even within 20 shots when that turnover tied the game with two minutes left. While they could have been more aggressive with a third goal, Vegas really looked like they were never going to score. Then Suter happened and it could cost the Stars dearly.
Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate.