After last weekend’s match between Lazio and AC Milan, there was plenty of outcry because Milan’s Tiémoué Bakayoko and Franck Kessie held aloft the jersey of Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi. Despite the acknowledgement by both Lazio and Acerbi that the display was just a bit of banter after Acerbi and Bakayoko had traded “barbs” before the match on Twitter, a number of pundits were offended by the actions of the Milan players and the FIGC went to investigate the matter.
However, it now appears that there is far more to investigate about the match, and it has nothing to do with Bakayoko holding up the jersey of an opponent.
A video of Lazio fans racially abusing Bakayoko during the match has emerged online, with the fans chanting about the French midfielder of African heritage and referencing “bananas,” long used as a racist symbol throughout Europe, with them often being thrown at players of African heritage as a way of calling them “monkeys.”
This is just the latest example of Lazio fans acting inappropriately, as they’ve had a number of high-profile incidents of anti-Semitism and racist behavior. They’ve been reported to have engaged in this behavior as recently as earlier this year in the match against AS Roma. This comes off of the ugly incidents surrounding Juventus forward Moise Kean at Cagliari, and Inter Milan fans even racial abused Milan’s Kessie during the Derby della Madonnina. Italy and Serie A have a long history of this kind of behavior, and yet here we are again.
Perhaps instead of responding to the hurt feelings of journalists and pundits, maybe the FIGC should investigate the very real displays of racism that occur in Italian football.