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Roc Nation Demands Action Against Racism in Italian Soccer Following Racial Abuse of Romelu Lukaku

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Jay-Z’s Roc Nation is calling for Italy to take stronger action against racism in soccer after Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku experienced racial abuse in the form of monkey noises from fans during a match against Juventus F.C. on Tuesday. As the Belgian striker prepared to take a stoppage-time penalty, fans behind the goal taunted him with racist monkey noises. After scoring, Lukaku held a finger to his lips in front of Juventus fans. The referee, however, considered the gesture provocative and issued a second yellow card before sending him off. Lukaku’s management agency demanded an apology and placed a full-page ad in the Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. The ad, as reported by TMZ, reads, “Dear Italy, Do better. Want better. Be better.” It highlights the ongoing racial hatred black players experience during professional soccer games, including monkey chants, racial slurs, and banana peels thrown at players. Roc Nation also shared a video on social media emphasizing the lack of progress, featuring both the recent incident and similar racist taunts directed at Lukaku during a 2019 game. The Roc Nation letter calls on the global sports community, including players, team owners, artists, brands, and fans, to denounce racist behavior and hold bigots accountable to a human standard that respects decency, compassion, and respect for others. Following Tuesday’s game, Michael Yormark, President of Roc Nation Sports International, issued a formal statement describing the racist remarks as “beyond despicable.” He demanded an apology from Juventus and urged the league to condemn the fans’ actions. Yormark also called on Italian authorities to use this opportunity to tackle racism rather than punish the victim of abuse.
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