January 08, 2021
Two depressing incidents over the festive season show discrimination is apparent in every level of Brazilian football
Brazilian football has a racism problem – from grassroots to the elite
By Tom Sanderson for Yellow and Green Football
Black people in Brazil are beaten to death in supermarkets on Black Consciousness Day, routinely harassed and brutalised by the police, and even cropped out of marketing photos for private schools so only their white peers are shown. The Football field is usually one of the few places where black Brazilians are not subjected to prejudice and racism, a stage that provides a form of escapism from the harsh realities of everyday life. Yet two incidents over Christmas showed that the game is far from immune to racism, either at the grassroots level or the professional ranks.
First, a clip of an 11-year-old boy Luiz Eduardo went viral. At the conclusion of a match in Caldas Novas, in the rural state of Goiás, the youngster was left distraught and in tears after the opposition’s coach repeatedly told his players to “close down the preto”, which is a highly offensive racial slur in Portuguese. Corinthians wore Luiz Eduardo’s name on their shirts in solidarity in their game against Goiás a few days later and he received videos of support from players such as Gabriel Jesus and Neymar. Santos, the club that nurtured Neymar, have even offered him trials.
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