Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior Criticizes La Liga after Racist Abuse

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 31, 2022

VALLADOLID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 30: Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid  during the La Liga Santander  match between Real Valladolid v Real Madrid at the Estadio Nuevo Jose Zorrilla on December 30, 2022 in Valladolid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior criticized La Liga on Saturday for its inaction toward addressing racist behavior.

"Racists continue to go to stadiums and watch the biggest club in the world up close and La Liga continues to do nothing..." he wrote on Twitter (h/t The Athletic's Jacob Whitehead).

"I will continue with my head held high and celebrating my victories and those of Madrid. In the end it's MY fault."

Vini Jr. @vinijr

Os racistas seguem indo aos estádios e assistindo ao maior clube do mundo de perto e a <a href="https://twitter.com/LaLiga?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LaLiga</a> segue sem fazer nada… <br>Seguirei de cabeça erguida e comemorando as minhas vitórias e do Madrid.<br>No final a culpa é MINHA. 🤙🏿 <a href="https://t.co/5ztuTjP4s6">pic.twitter.com/5ztuTjP4s6</a>

His comments came after he was the target of racist abuse during a 2-0 win over Real Valladolid on Friday.

La Liga issued a statement to Whitehead defending its handing of racism allegations, saying, "Hate speech has no place in LaLiga."

"We are investigating last night's match and will work with the clubs and appropriate authorities to identify and prosecute anyone guilty of hate speech," the league stated.

"As for yesterday's events, LaLiga is still investigating but has already identified racist insults from some individuals (not groups) in videos uploaded to social media, which will be the subject of an official complaint as in previous cases."

Racist abuse by fans isn't a problem isolated to Spain, but it has remained a persistent issue for years. This isn't the first time Vinicius has been victimized, either. Prior to Madrid's 2-1 win over rival Atlético Madrid in September, Atlético supporters chanted, "Vinicius is a monkey" as they entered Cívitas Metropolitano.

La Liga's approach to addressing allegations of racist abuse also came into sharp focus in April 2021, when Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby said he had been racially abused by Cádiz defender Juan Cala. Diakhaby's teammates walked off the pitch in solidarity, and he didn't return to the match when it restarted.

La Liga said days later it didn't find evidence that Cala used a racist slur toward Diakhaby.

In a statement, Valencia said, "The fact that no evidence has been found does not mean that it didn't happen."

"Our aim is to see a change, to see an appropriate response to such a grave incident, to see a movement to change the regulations and attitudes when facing these types of problems that may arise," the club stated. "It was an unprecedented episode in football, but we are convinced that it will serve to promote a real change in the regulations."

The Athletic's Dermot Corrigan and Adam Crafton laid out how the incident was emblematic of structural issues within La Liga and Spain.