An Italian newspaper thought it would be HILARIOUS to depict footballer Mario Balotelli as the giant black menacing ape King Kong mounting Big Ben in the cartoon above.
La Gazzetta dello Sport decided to feature the cartoon in the run up to the Euro 2012 Italy v England game which took place on Sunday.
Mario as you can imagine wasn’t very happy with the depiction so the rag later issued an insincere “apology” which said something along the lines of,
We’ve done nothing wrong, but are sorry if you were offended, sorry if you misunderstood.
They then added,
“It wasn’t our cartoonist’s best product. In these times we need a bit more moderation, caution and good taste. But we have always fought against racism and condemned booing against Balotelli as unacceptable.”
In response to the cartoon a spokesperson from anti-racism organisation Kick It Out said,
“Aspiring players in Italy who want to follow in his footsteps could wonder what support they will have when they get to his level when they see cartoons like that. It is not the first time we have seen this sort of depiction of Mario and we think the media have a responsibility. How do they think they can portray him like that?’’
*shaking my head*
It’s been a terrible year so far for high-profile black men particularly in the world of football. It seems they are no longer “in fashion”.
So what now? Will they all begin to stand up for themselves and speak out or do what they always do. Just sit in silence and pretend nothing is happening?