Italian newspaper sparks racism outrage over ‘Black Friday’ headline in Inter vs Roma preview

The newspaper's attempt at previewing Romelu Lukaku up against Chris Smalling

Jack Rathborn@JackRathborn
Thursday 05 December 2019 14:08
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Romelu Lukaku scores first Derby della Madonnina goal

Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport has sparked outrage with their headline “Black Friday” to preview Romelu Lukaku playing against Chris Smalling when Inter Milan meet Roma on Friday.

It is just the latest example of racism in Italian football after Lukaku endured monkey chants in the match at Cagliari this season, while Hellas Verona fans racially abused Mario Balotelli.

Cagliari avoided any serious action from Serie A while Verona were handed a partial stadium closure, with both decisions criticised alongside calls for the league to tackle racism more seriously.

“The intention of the newspaper article was actually positive,” Roma’s chief strategy officer Paul Rogers said on the Rome-based newspaper. “But this headline has totally overshadowed the anti-racist message contained within the story.”

While the club’s official English account wrote: “No one: . Absolutely nobody: . Not a single soul: . Corriere dello Sport headline writer: ,” followed by a picture of the front page, which was retweeted by Roma’s Italian account.

While Inter added: ”Football is passion, culture and brotherhood. We are and always will be opposed to any form of discrimination.”

Rivals AC Milan also condemned the headline: “It is totally unacceptable to see such casual ignorance on racism. We will not stay silent on this issue.”

Editor of Corriere dello Sport denied any malice though, insisting the headline was “innocent” and that those who did not see that had “poison inside them”.

“It was and is only the praise of difference, the pride of our differences, the magnificent wealth of our differences,” Zazzaroni wrote in a comment piece. “If you don’t understand it, it’s because you can’t or because you do it. An innocent title, however, perfectly argued by Roberto Perrone, is transformed into poison by those who have the poison inside them”, he concluded.

Smalling has revitalised his career since moving to Rome

The match on Friday sees the former Manchester United teammates meet for the first time since their moves to Serie A, where both have reignited their careers.​

The game is especially important for Lukaku’s Inter, who currently sit top of Serie A, as they bid to break Juventus’s eight-year stranglehold on the title.

While Smalling’s Roma are joint-fourth and battling for a Champions League place.

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