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In the U.S., racist comments made by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling have sparked national outrage. Among professional soccer players in Europe, however, racist fans are a source of constant anxiety.
So what do you do if you’re a player and a fan tosses a banana on the field as a racist taunt? Well, if you’re Barcelona player Dani Alves, you eat it.
In the second half of a game on Sunday, a fan threw a banana at Alves. Instead of ignoring it, Alves scooped it up and down the hatch it went. That’s one way to confront racism.
Some fans of professional soccer are so racist that last January an entire team stormed off the field in protest.
In Italy AC Milan players walked off the field when racist fans began chanting, thus abandoning an exhibition match in the first half with lower division club Pro Patria.
The chants which prompted the team to walk off the field were all directed at black players and continued even after the announcer urged the racist fans to cool it.
Having had enough, Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng picked up the ball and kιcked it at a section of the crowd. Then Boateng walked off the field with his fellow teammates.
Also last year, American striker Jozy Altidore managed to score a goal amid monkey chants from Dutch club FC Den Bosch fans.
The director of Den Bosch later apologized for the incident.