Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr has condemned what he described as racist criticism he received for his dancing goal celebration.
During an appearance on Spanish television on Friday, Pedro Bravo – a top agent and president of the Association of Spanish Agents – likened Vinicius Jr.’s dance celebrations after his goal to the behavior of a monkey, arguing the forward doesn’t respect his opponents and “should stop.” to play the monkey.”
“If you face a rival and you want to dance samba, you go to the Sambadrome in Brazil, here you have to respect your peers and stop playing the monkey,” he said.
Bravo was accused by many on social media of using racist language and has done so ever since apologized on Twitterexplaining that he had misused a metaphor.
But in a video posted to Vinicius Jr.’s social media on September 16, the Brazil international addressed the criticism and said he would not stop dancing.
“‘As long as the color of the skin is more important than the brightness of the eyes, there will be war.’ “I got this phrase tattooed on my body,” Vinicius Jr. said in his Instagram post.
“That thought is constantly in my head. This is the attitude and philosophy I try to practice in my life. They say happiness interferes. The luck of a black Brazilian successful in Europe is much more disturbing!
“But my will to win, my smile and the sparkle in my eyes are bigger than all of that. You can’t even imagine. I was a victim of xenophobia and racism in a single statement. But none of that started yesterday.”
The 22-year-old named other players who also cheered after the goal. He added: “Weeks ago they started criminalizing my dances. Dances that aren’t 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 will not stop.
“The script always ends with an apology and ‘I’ve been misunderstood,’ but I’ll repeat it 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 ‘play the monkey’ that I misused to describe Vinicius’ goal celebration dance was used metaphorically (‘play the fool’) as my intention was not , to offend anyone, my sincere apologies, I’m sorry.”
Neither the Association of Spanish Agents nor Atresmedia, the broadcaster of the show in which Bravo made his comments, immediately responded to CNN’s request for comment.
The agent’s comment came after Atlético Madrid player Koke Resurrección warned Vinicius not to dance if he scored in Sunday’s Madrid derby.
Atlético coach Diego Simeone said before this game: “We live in a society in which we are all involved. We are human and this is the society we have.”
The Brazil national team offered their support to Vinicius Jr. “There’s dancing, dribbling, but most of all (there’s) respect,” she continued 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 remarks this Thursday evening (15th). CBF strengthens and shows solidarity with #BailaViniJr.”
Real Madrid, for whom Vinicius Jr. has made an excellent start to the season with five goals in eight games, said in a statement that the club “will take legal action against anyone who makes racist remarks towards our players”.
Vinicius Jr. stated that he is working to ensure that future generations would be better informed about such matters.
“I come from a country where poverty is very high, people have no access to education and in many cases there is no food on the table,” he said.
“On and off the field, I developed an application to help educate children in public schools with no financial help from anyone. I’m building a school in my name. I will do much more for education. I want future generations like me to be prepared to fight against racists and xenophobia.
“I always try to be a professional and a model citizen. But that doesn’t get ‘clicks’, it’s not a trend on the internet, nor does it motivate cowards to talk aggressively about people they don’t even know.”