The arrests appear to be a response to the uproar that arose after last Sunday’s racist chants. During an away match against Valencia, part of the crowd made 22-year-old Vinícius Jr. out for ‘monkey’. The Brazilian attacker was even able to identify which supporters had made the statements. However, the referee allowed the game to be played. In stoppage time, the visibly exasperated footballer then received a red card himself – the first in his career.
The incident and the passionate response that Vinícius on his Instagram page seems to have given the Spanish authorities a wake-up call. The police reported on Tuesday in Valencia to have arrested three young people for making racist insults. Earlier, the Public Prosecution Service of Valencia already started an investigation into this ‘hate crime’. Real Madrid announced legal proceedings.
On Tuesday, the Spanish police also announced that they had arrested four men for an earlier threat against Vinícius Jr. At the end of January, on the night before the city derby against rival Atlético Madrid, strangers tied a doll wearing a Vinícius shirt to a bridge near Real’s training complex. According to the police, the four arrested are responsible for this action.
According to the footballer himself, racism is a deep-rooted problem in the Spanish football league. “With every away game there is another unpleasant surprise,” he wrote on Instagram on Monday. He denounces the clubs that do not intervene, the sponsors that remain silent and television channels that continue to broadcast “this barbarity”. “We keep talking about incidents, but these are no longer incidents.”
That not everyone in the Spanish football world realizes how painful the racist expressions are for the affected players was apparent from the reaction of the boss of the Spanish league, Javier Tebas. According to him, the league management wanted Vinícius Jr. in conversation about the theme, but the footballer did not show up on the agreed days. “Before criticizing La Liga, it is important that you inform yourself properly,” Tebas wrote on Twitter.
Since those who should do not explain what it is and what it can do @LaLiga in cases of racism, we have tried to explain it to you, but you have not shown up for either of the two agreed dates that you requested yourself. Before criticizing and insulting @LaLigait is necessary… https://t.co/pLCIx1b6hS pic.twitter.com/eHvdd3vJcb
— Javier Tebas Medrano (@Tebasjavier) 21 mei 2023
Nine other reports
Other prominent figures in Spanish football rallied behind Vinícius Jr. For example, the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, acknowledged that the league suffers from racism. According to Rubiales, nine reports of racism were received this league season. Eight times it concerned statements against Vinícius Jr. “Even if there is only one person who is insulted on the basis of race or skin color, we have a serious problem,” Rubiales said at a news conference.
In his home country, Vinicius Jr. count on a lot of support. For example, the lighting of the famous statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro remained off for an hour on Monday evening. The footballer of the national team announced via social media that he was moved by this initiative of, among others, the Brazilian Football Association. Earlier, the Brazilian government had also strongly condemned the ‘racist attacks’.