These soccer fans stay out of pocket!
Russian soccer fans are not feeling the team’s recent acquisition of Brazilian player Givanildo Vieira de Souza, better known as “Hulk” and they’re not ashamed to show it — even if it means the rest of the world gets to see them for the bigots they clearly are:
“We’re not racists but we see the absence of black players at Zenit as an important tradition,” Zenit fan club Landscrona said in a letter, called the “Selection 12 manifesto”, posted on its website (www.landscrona.ru) on Monday.
“It would allow Zenit to maintain the national identity of the club, which is the symbol of St Petersburg.”
We only want players from other brotherly Slav nations, such as Ukraine and Belarus as well as from the Baltic states and Scandinavia. We have the same mentality and historical and cultural background as these nations,” the letter said.
The letter is also clear that they expect the team to stay free of recruiting “sexual minorities” (gays, for the slow folks) and they demand all players give “101 percent effort” in every game.
That’s not even where it ends. Local media in St. Petersburg says that several prominent black players have turned down lucrative offers to join the team over the past 12 months after receiving death threats from Zenit fans.
A Zenit spokesman said on Monday the club would not comment on the fans’ letter.
Fortunately not everyone agrees. Reuters published comments from former Zenit and Russia striker Alexander Panov who says the fans have no right to influence the club’s selection policy:
“If we don’t have enough good players from St Petersburg, then what should the club do?” the St Petersburg native was quoted as saying by local media.
“All clubs around the world have black players. If they are absent from Zenit – it’s Zenit’s problem. I don’t think fans should demand the club buy or don’t buy certain players. The fans have the right to go to the stadium or stay home.”
But not everyone is as enlightened as Panov. The team has struggled with some in-fighting because a number of veterans were ticked off that the team spent over $100 milli to get Brazilian Hulk and midfielder Axel Witsel, who is from Belgium, to join. One player, Igor Denisov was even sent to the reserve team in September when he refused to play unless the team agreed to pay him the same salary as Hulk. He later apologized and was allowed to rejoin.
This is some real sad isht… SMH at these folks who stay clinging to their “national identity.”
That isht goes right out the window when your team is losing and all the local athletes are playing like losers.
Photo Credit: AP Images/Dmitry Lovetsky