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AC Milan vs. Roma Match Suspended Due to Racist Chants Toward Mario Balotelli

Tim KeeneyContributor IMay 12, 2013

Racist chants directed at Mario Balotelli forced Sunday's match between AC Milan and Roma to be briefly suspended. 

According to BBC Sport, play stopped for almost two minutes in the second half at San Siro to allow Roma captain Francesco Totti to implore his team's fans to cease and desist. Totti had complained to the referee about the jeers previously in the match.

Finally, an announcement came via the loudspeaker, echoing Totti's message with greater volume before play resumed.

Milan missed out on a chance to secure Champions League football next season with a 0-0 draw that showcased two red cards (including one for Totti) and several compelling storylines. Unfortunately, the racist chants will steal the headlines. 

This incident is just another in what is disappointingly an all-too-common trend during soccer matches around the world—and most notably in Italy

Back in January of this year, fans similarly harassed Milan's Kevin-Prince Boateng during an exhibition match against Pro Patria. He, along with his teammates, walked off the pitch in the middle of the match in protest.

Boateng has since spoken out against racism in sports at the United Nations during March's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

In November of 2012 in England, police investigated a Chelsea fan who made a "monkey gesture toward Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck" (h/t Huffington Post). Just days earlier, Chelsea's own John Obi Mikel was allegedly the target of a racist comment from referee Mark Clattenburg.

And those are just a very few of many instances in the more popular leagues around the world.

Fans at sporting events will undoubtedly always get riled up, but when the jeering turns into racism, it has officially gone over the line.

Of course, it was encouraging to see Totti urge his own Roma fans to stop on Sunday afternoon. Hopefully, actions like his will help mitigate these instances in the future.  

 

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