Brazilian defender Dani Alves of Spanish La Liga soccer club Barcelona FA has been the victim of racist abuse in the past, but he says fighting back against it seems to be a war that can’t be won. Alves was playing in a league game against Villarreal on Sunday when a fan threw a banana at him while he was about to take a corner kick. The player then bent down to pick it up, peeled it back and took a bite out of the fruit.

Alves figured that eating the banana would somehow deflate the racist taunt and add some humor to a sorry situation. He also thought that taking a bite out of it would provide him with some potassium and a much-needed boost of energy.

After the match, which Barcelona won 3-2 to keep their league title hopes alive, the player told the press, “I don’t know who threw the banana but I want to thank him. It gave me the energy to put two more crosses in for our goals.”

Alves said players in Spain have had to endure racist taunts for many years now, but they might as well learn how to take it with a dose of humor. He believes things won’t change in Spain and other nations overnight when it comes to abusing soccer players, but if the victims don’t give the abuser any importance then it will defeat the objectives of the racists.

He also believes fans often throw bananas at black players just too throw them off their games. He added that it’s sometimes hard to take the taunting seriously since the opposing teams also have black players on them.

Last year, after being the subject of monkey chants, Alves said the soccer leagues and organizations have been trying to rid the sport of the problem for years, but it doesn’t seem to be working because these types of incidents keep happening over and over again.

He said he’s played in Spain for 10 years now and he’s seen racial abuse since the very first day he arrived. He believes part of the problem is the paltry fines and punishment that fans and soccer clubs receive when they’re found guilty of abusing players.

Alves claimed that fining the perpetrators just a couple of thousand euros isn’t going to stop the problem and drastic measures are needed if they want to stamp out racism.

He added, “You have to go a bit further. Sometimes you have to make an example. In England it doesn’t happen and when it does the punishments are exemplary.”

Black players have been taunted by opposing fans for several decades now. Some players simply ignore the abuse while others show their displeasure by walking off the field in anger. A

lso, it’s not just soccer that suffers from the abuse. In the past, NHL forward Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers has had bananas thrown at him and a fan threw one at Major League baseball player Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles last year at a game in San Francisco.


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