A soccer player who was the victim of racial abuse from an Italian crowd took the high road.
Instead of cursing out the Cagliari, Italy, crowd, which was making monkey noises and saying possibly worse toward him Sunday, Pescara's Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari decided to walk over to the crowd and give a kid hurling insults his shirt.
“There was a little kid doing [the noises] with his parents standing nearby,” Muntari told TheGuardian.com. “So I went over to him and told him not to do it. I gave him my shirt, to teach him that you’re not supposed to do things like that. I needed to set an example so he grows up to be nice."
But what's as disgusting as the racial abuse hurled his way was the fact that Muntari says he told referee Daniele Minelli and his assistants to please do something about the racist chants, only to be slapped with a yellow card for "dissent."
Muntari told the Associated Press that he was trying to explain to fans how wrong they were for their racist behavior, at one point slapping his forearm and yelling, "this is my color," as reported by BBC. But while doing that, the ref actually told him to stop.
"I was reasoning with [the crowd], but the referee told me I had to let it go," Muntari, 32, told the AP. "That's when I got angry because instead of stopping the game, he decided to punish me."
Irate that the ref punished him instead of addressing the racist crowd, Muntari simply walked off the field.
"The fans were wrong, but the referee had to act differently, not accuse me of causing trouble," he continued telling the AP. "If the officials actually stopped games, I am convinced these things wouldn't happen anymore."
You can hear the crowd make the monkey noises in his direction in the clip below.
Sadly, there's a history of European crowds racially abusing African-American and Latino players.
In February, Brazilian soccer player Everton Luiz was showered with the monkey chants by vile fans during a match in Belgrade, Serbia. The racism moved him from sheer anger, which he exhibited by cursing out the crowd, to extreme sadness, leaving the field in tears.
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(Photo: Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
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