While Mario Balotelli, Kevin-Prince Boateng and even Sepp Blatter are speaking out against racism in Serie A, Didier Drogba and his Galatasaray teammates are considering drastic measures to combat similar taunting in Turkey: blackface.
After "your typical Euro-flavor of racism during this past weekend's derby match against Fenerbahce: monkey noises, bananas on the pitch, et cetera," according to Turkish-language newspaper Fanatik (h/t Deadspin), Gala players have reportedly committed to wearing blackface on the pitch in the next match. The move comes "as a token of solidarity toward [Drogba] and fellow players of African descent, Emmanuel Eboué and Dany Nounkeu."
(Warning: Questionable photo—and Photoshop job—on the Turkish site.)
Ironically, Fenerbahce defeated Galatasaray 2-1 in Istanbul on Sunday thanks to two goals from Cameroon striker Pierre Webo, who is black.
After the match, Drogba had some harsh words for racist fans on the Gala Facebook page [sic]:
You call me monkey but you cried when Chelsea beat Fenerbahçe in 2008, you called me monkey but you jumped in front of your screen when I won the Champions League, you called me monkey but you got mad when I became Champion with Galatasaray and the saddest thing is you called me monkey and forgot that you jumped ... my "monkey" brother scored twice yesterday… And you call yourself a true fan?? Check all the Galatasaray fans comments and learn from them…
Would wearing blackface help or hurt football's ongoing fight against racism?
He followed up on Tuesday, saying "Stupid people are all around the world … it's up to us to educate them."
Given the history and cultural stigma attached to blackface in the U.S., some will surely see this as over the top. And it's unclear if showing up in blackface would actually do much to educate fans.
If nothing else, though, it would create more awareness of the situation and shine a larger international spotlight on football's rampant racism problem.