Leonardo Bonucci has expressed solidarity with Moise Kean after his initial reaction to his Juventus team-mate receiving racist abuse came in for criticism.
Kean completed the scoring in Juve’s 2-0 win at Cagliari and responded by celebrating in front of the home supporters, who barracked the 19-year-old throughout the Serie A match.
Following his goal celebration, Kean and team-mate Blaise Matuidi were visibly angry and an announcement over the public address system at the Sardegna Arena warned fans against further offensive behaviour.
Speaking to Sky Sport Italia after the game, Bonucci said Kean shared culpability for the incident because he incited the home crowd.
“Kean knows that, when you score, it’s enough to celebrate with the squad. He could have behaved differently,” he said.
“There was racist booing, Matuidi got angry. It’s a 50-50 – Moise was wrong, and the curva (the stand) was wrong. We have to be an example.”
Bonucci’s remarks – which were echoed by Massimiliano Allegri, although the Juventus head coach did call for any perpetrators to be given life bans from football grounds – drew widespread criticism.
Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling, who celebrated a goal in similar fashion amid racist abuse aimed at England’s black players when they played Montenegro last week, posted on Instagram to say: “The blame is 50-50 @bonuccileo19[?] All you can do now is laugh.”
English rapper Stormzy branded Bonucci “a p****” and, as the opprobrium continued, Bonucci offered a fresh take.
“No to racism”
Leonardo Bonucci has responded to criticism of his comments regarding the abuse suffered by Moise Kean at Cagliari pic.twitter.com/VOtl0Xh6TT
— Omnisport (@OmnisportNews) April 3, 2019
The 31-year-old captioned an Instagram picture of him embracing Kean while playing for Italy with the message: “Regardless of everything, in any case… NO TO RACISM.”
Matuidi uploaded an image of Kean’s celebration on social media with the hashtag, “#NoToRacism”.
On Instagram, Manchester United star Paul Pogba shared his France team-mate’s post and wrote: “I support every fight against racism, we’re all equal.
Lyon forward Memphis Depay commented “It’s a shame we still talk about racism in 2019! But we have to speak up! We (are) all equal. #NoToRacism.”
Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini denied there was a racist element to the abuse directed towards Kean, claiming any jeers were merely a reaction to his goal celebration that would have greeted any player.
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