Racist King Kong Cartoon Rattles European Soccer

After comparing Italian soccer player Mario Balotelli to an ape, the offending newspaper claims no racism was afoot. 

Posted: 06/28/2012 02:12 PM EDT
Italian newspaper "Gazzetta dello Sport" apologized for racist King Kong cartoon of soccer player.

(Photo: Courtesy Twitter)

Despite the numerous denials and apologies, European soccer has a race problem.

The latest offense comes out of Italy where the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper published a cartoon depicting Italian soccer player Mario Balotelli as King Kong and straddled atop Big Ben swatting soccer balls. Balotelli, who has been the target of racist chants in the past, plays for an English team and the cartoon ran on the day Italy and England were scheduled to play each other in a match as part of the Euro Cup championship. Although the paper has since apologized for the cartoon, it rejected the notion that the cartoon carries any racial undertones. The Guardian reports:


"A statement from Gazzetta read: 'Some of our readers have protested regarding [Valerio] Marini's cartoon.


Balotelli was depicted as King Kong. We can honestly say it was not among the best products of our talented cartoonist. At this time, a measure of prudence and good taste are necessary because everything, absolutely everything, can be misinterpreted.


The newspaper is for those who read it and hence, if certain readers found the cartoon offensive, we apologise. But those who accuse Gazzetta (and poor Marini) of racism are going overboard.'"

Read the full story here


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