Unfortunately, we can’t ignore how racial abuses have become increasingly frequent in the game, especially with the rise of social media.
Everyone remembers the infamous incident when Vinícius was reduced to tears after being racially targeted by a fan during a match against Valencia.
Earlier this year, Romelu Lukaku was racially abused after scoring against Juventus in the Coppa Italia semi finals. During the World Cup, several England players namely Rashford, Saka, and Sancho spoke out against heavy racial insults.
If such renowned players with extensive fan bases have to face such brutal abuses then just consider the repercussions if an ordinary internet user becomes the target of social media abuse.
A similar incident unfolded this Tuesday with the focal point of discussion being the Argentine forward, Julian Alvarez.
Manchester City dropped two crucial points against Crystal Palace this weekend. The 2-2 draw implies that Tottenham Hotspur will edge closer to displacing Manchester City from the top four positions. With Halaand reportedly out due to a foot injury, Guardiola had to start the match with his Argentine forward, Álvarez.
But truth be told, Álvarez did not seize this opportunity convincingly. Across the entire 90 minutes at the Etihad Stadium, Álvarez had 40 touches of the ball in total, the fewest among any outfield City player.
The 23-year-old only had one attempt at goal and ended up losing 85% of the duels. Alvarez had one of his poor game days that fetched him a mere 6.5/10 rating on Sofascore, making him the lowest-rated outfield player for the home side.
But the real controversy began off-field when an X.com user from Ethiopia by the username @abz7ii posted a video showcasing Julian’s performance mishaps.
The minute-long video was a compilation of all the mistakes and missed opportunities by the Argentine during the match.
The user uploaded this video on social media oblivious to the imminent reactionary storm that was about to hit him.
Alvarez is immensely adored, especially for his country. Unfortunately, the X.com user had to learn it the hard way. The compilation video was demeaning for the forward and the Argentine fans were having none of it. Moreover, it was the anniversary day of their World Cup celebration.
They took to X.com to retaliate but they took it way too far. Their replies were toxic and consisted of personal attacks and racial abuses.
Fans have expressed their strong opposition to the tweet, emphasizing the need for the user to show the respect Alvarez rightfully deserves. After all, the Argentine has won it all.
From winning the World Cup and Copa America with Argentina to conquering the Champions League, FA Cup, and Carabao Cup with Manchester City, he has completed football and is still just 23 years old.
But in hindsight, those were the more positive comments, as the conversation quickly took a turn for the worse.
Argentine fans resorted to attacking his skin color and ethnicity and even referenced the tragedy of slavery in their comments. Some even went to the extent of suggesting that Europeans should have wiped out their heritage while they had the chance.
The X.com user was tagged as a ‘monkey’ for his ethnicity. People also commented on him being ‘impure’ simply because he belonged to the darker race.
They even went as far as to bring his entire race into attack. They tagged him as “slaves’ and ‘cotton-field workers’. This was in reference to the tragic scenario before the Civil War when the Black-skinned people were forced to work in the cotton fields as enslaved labourers.
People also went ahead to target his country, pointing fingers at Ethiopia’s perceived poor lifestyle. They brought into context their lack of access to proper food and diets.
What was even more alarming was that only a few people protested against these abuses. Among the larger majority, these comments of racial abuses were not only defended but disturbingly celebrated.
The repercussions got so out of control that X.com was forced to take down the tweet.
In a subsequent tweet, the targeted user went on to reveal the mental distress caused by the racial attacks. The user was in clear need of mental space and was forced to lock his X.com account.
And to think, all of this stemmed from a simple video compilation. Yes, the compilation video was completely unnecessary, but responding to it with personal attacks and racial abuses was certainly an overreaction as well.