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5 Dec, 2019 14:58

Black Friday: No apology from Italian outlet for race row over headline featuring Lukaku & Smalling

Black Friday: No apology from Italian outlet for race row over headline featuring Lukaku & Smalling

Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport has been slammed for dubbing a clash between Serie A giants Inter Milan and Roma 'Black Friday' and featuring images of black players Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling.

Corriere dello Sport, one of Italy’s most respected sports outlets, used the headline to promote Inter’s clash against Roma at the San Siro on Friday night in a thinly-veiled reference to Lukaku and Smalling’s skin color.

The rest of the headline reads: “Former Manchester United teammates and current Inter and Roma heroes will meet in tomorrow’s inthe race for the Scudetto and championship title.”

Despite receiving an acerbic reaction from most viewers and fellow journalists, the outlet refused to apologize for any offence caused and shockingly blamed readers for their own interpretations, accusing them of having “venom inside”.

Editor Ivan Zazzaroni wrote a scathing response on Thursday: “Black Friday', for those who want and can understand it, was and is only the praise of difference, the pride of difference, the magnificent wealth of difference.”

"If you don't understand it, it's because you can't do it or because you're pretending you can't do it. An innocent title, actually perfectly argued by Roberto Perrone (the article's writer), is transformed into venom by those who have venom inside themselves."

A range of major Italian clubs tweeted out in condemnation of the headline and the move has been widely admosnished by other journalists and publications.

Given recent incidents of racism in Italy, some involving Lukaku himself, the headline can be certainly taken at best insensitive and even ignorant. Such apathetic attitudes are commonplace in many parts of Italian football and the reactions to such are sardonic, creating an environment which normalizes that particular behavior.

In September, Cagliari fans were caught on camera abusing Lukaku with monkey chants as he converted the club’s winning 72nd-minute penalty in a 2-1 win. What's more, Inter fan group L'urlo della Nord told the Belgian striker he should “consider it a form of respect”.

Also on rt.com 'Consider it a form of respect': Inter Milan ultras tell Lukaku monkey chants are 'not racism'

In April, former Juventus starlet Moise Kean suffered a torrent of racial abuse by the same group of Cagliari fans, to which he responded by scoring an 85th minute goal and then celebrating, arms outstretched, in front of his tormentors.

A response from teammate Christian Bonucci drew criticism when remarked that the incident was 50/50, and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) was ridiculed when they decided not to punish Cagliari over the episode.

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