Mario Balotelli is in the news again, for another instance of racism directed towards him.
The Italian soccer star was playing in a match for Brescia against Hellas Verona on Sunday (November 3), where he was subjected to monkey chants by the Verona crowd, according to ESPN.
The referee halted the match for five minutes while announcements were made to the crowd. This was the latest, and another ugly mark on the Italian Serie A professional league.
Balotelli has been the target of racist incidents throughout his playing career.
He was born in Sicily to Ghanaian parents and then given up for adoption to an Italian family when he was three.
Questions of his level of “Italian-ness” persist and are rooted in all the ills that plague civilization.
On Monday (November 4) a local Verona outlet interviewed Verona ultras leader Luca Castellini, who said:
"We have an identity culture of a certain kind, we are irreverent supporters. We make fun of bald players, the one with long hair, the southern player and the player of colour but not with political or racist instincts. This is folklore, it stops all there. Balotelli's Italian because he has Italian citizenship, but he can never be completely Italian."
In an attempt to downplay the incident as fans having “harmless fun” Castellini revealed his character and those of many of the Verona supporters.
Balotelli took to Instagram to address the incident, saying:
"You're referring to social and historical situations that are bigger than you small-minded people. Here you are, going crazy, ignorant... You are the ruin."
Verona announced on Tuesday (November 5) that it has banned the leader of their ultras, Luca Castellini, until June 30, 2030, according to The Guardian.
“Hellas Verona FC announces that it has adopted a disqualification measure against Mr Luca Castellini, who expressed opinions that are seriously contrary to those that distinguish the ethical principles and values of our club. A suspension has been handed to the subject until 30 June 2030,” read a club statement.
Despite the overwhelming evidence, Hellas Verona and the mayor of the city have denied any racist abuse occurred, and some local officials have proposed a motion to sue Balotelli for complaining about racism and "those who unfairly attack Verona with defamatory statements," per Football Italia.
(Photo: Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)