So after Italian football lost its damn mind over a shirt, Milan had to put out a statement yesterday. If only racist chants generated the same kind of reaction as two players of African descent holding up a shirt.
#ACMilan released a statement defending Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie after they seemed to mock #Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi. “It was not aggressive or unsporting.” https://t.co/GRlewzTBpH #MilanLazio #SerieA pic.twitter.com/PnDYDXtewT— footballitalia (@footballitalia) April 14, 2019
The club posted a statement on their official website, saying:
AC Milan wish to reconstruct the events after the Milan v Lazio game and make some clarifications. The Rossoneri players went under the Curva Sud at San Siro to salute the fans. It is a custom for them to do this.
Last night, Tiemoue Bakayoko reached his teammates under the stands holding Francesco Acerbi’s jersey, having just then completed a sporting exchange of jerseys, and held it up for a few seconds (along with Franck Kessie) to the crowd.
The sole intention was to celebrate an important victory with no intention to mock, nor be aggressive or unsporting. It was an innocent, naïve response to a friendly exchange of tweets with Acerbi in the days leading up to the game.
The proof is in the dynamics of what happened, the facial expressions of the players, the total absence of jeers or other negative elements.
In realising this innocent gesture had upset Francesco Acerbi personally (a colleague who all the Milan players respect), both Tiemoue and Franck publicly apologised to him.
It was also interpreted as an innocent gesture by Lazio director of sport Igli Tare, who at the end of the match declared it was ‘banter as part of a fiery game, one we shouldn’t give too much importance to.’
Can we be done with this now? A whole lot of people got way too mad about a shirt.
On to the links.
AC Milan and Italian Football Links
Milan pick up a good win over Lazio. [AC Milan Offside]
Bakayoko held up Acerbi’s jersey to the Curva Sud and watched the world burn. [AC Milan Offside]
World Football Links
Monterrey got a hat trick from Rogelio Funes Mori beat Santos Laguna 4-0. [FMF State of Mind]
Club América and Cruz Azul settled for a goalless draw in the Clásico Joven. [FMF State of Mind]