Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr has condemned what he has described as the racist criticism he received for his dance goal celebrations.
Appearing on Spanish television on Friday, Pedro Bravo — a prominent agent and president of the Association of Spanish Agents — compared Vinicius Jr’s dance celebrations after scoring to the behavior of a monkey, arguing that the attacker disrespected his opponents. and “should stop playing the monkey.”
“If you score against a rival, if you want to dance samba, you go to the sambadrome in Brazil, here you have to respect your colleagues and stop playing the monkey,” he said.
Bravo was accused by many of using racist language on social media and has since… apologized on Twitterexplaining that he had misused a metaphor.
But in a video posted to Vinicius Jr’s social media on Sept. 16, the Brazil international expressed criticism, saying he would not stop dancing.
“‘As long as skin color is more important than eye brightness, there will be war.'” I have this phrase tattooed on my body,” Vinicius Jr. said in his Instagram post.
“This thought is permanently in my head. This is the attitude and philosophy that I try to apply in my life. They say that happiness disrupts. The luck of a black Brazilian who is successful in Europe upsets much more!
“But my desire to win, my smile and the sparkle in my eyes are bigger than all this. You can’t even imagine it. I was the victim of xenophobia and racism in a single statement. But none of this started yesterday.”
The 22-year-old mentioned other players who also danced after scoring. He added: “Weeks ago they started criminalizing my dancing. Dances that are not mine. They belong to Ronaldinho, Neymar, (Lucas) Paquetá, (Antoine) Griezmann, João Félix, Matheus Cunha… they belong to Brazilian funk and samba artists, reggaeton singers and 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 repeat for you, racist: I won’t stop dancing. Whether in the Sambadrome, in the Bernabéu or wherever.”
In his apology on Twitter, Bravo said: “I want to clarify that the phrase ‘playing the monkey’, which I misused to describe Vinicius’ goal celebration dance, was used metaphorically (“playing the fool”) as I didn’t mean to offend. everyone, my sincere apologies, I’m sorry.”
Neither the Association of Spanish Agents nor Atresmedia, the broadcaster of the program in which Bravo made his comments, immediately responded to CNN’s request for comment.
The agent’s comments came after Atlético Madrid player Koke Resurrección warned Vinicius not to dance if he scored in Sunday’s Madrid derby.
Before that game, Atlético boss Diego Simeone said: “We live in a society where we are all involved. We are people and this is the society we have.”
The Brazilian national team offered its support to Vinicius Jr. “There will be dancing, dribbling, but most of all (there will be) respect,” it wrote Twitter, accompanied by a video of Vinicius Jr and his international teammates, Neymar and Lucas Paquetá, dancing after a goal.
“Our athlete (Vinicius Jr) was the target of racist statements on this Thursday night (15th). CBF strengthens and stands in solidarity with #BailaViniJr.”
Real Madrid, for whom Vinicius Jr had an excellent start to the season with five goals in eight games, said in a pronunciation that the club would “take legal action against anyone who makes racist comments towards our players.”
Vinicius Jr explained that he has worked to ensure that future generations would be better informed about such matters.
“I come from a country where poverty is very high, where people have no access to education and in many cases no food on the table,” he said.
“On and off the field, I have developed an application to help educate children in public schools without financial assistance from anyone. I’m building a school in my name. I will do a lot more for education. I want the next generations, like me, to be prepared to fight against racists and xenophobes.
“I always try to be a professional and exemplary citizen. But this doesn’t get you any ‘clicks’, it’s not trending on the internet, nor does it motivate the cowards to talk aggressively about people they don’t even know.”