The Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil turned off its lights in a show of antiracism solidarity with Vinicius Jr.
Brazil’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue turned off its lights in a show of support for Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr after racial taunts from Valencia fans at Spain’s Mestalla Stadium last weekend.
The lights at the national landmark in Rio de Janeiro, the same state where Vinicius Jr was born, were turned off at 6pm local time (15:00 GMT) on Monday for an hour to end a day in which the Brazilian government and the world of football united in condemning the racist acts that took place in the Spanish league match on Sunday.
The Archdiocesan Sanctuary that manages the monument turned off the lights in cooperation with the Brazilian FA and the Observatory of Racial Discrimination in Football.
“[This action] a symbol of the collective struggle against racism and the solidarity of the player and all those who suffer from prejudice around the world,” the groups said, according to Brazilian media outlet Globo.
Vinicius Jr later wrote on Twitter: “Dark and impressive. Christ the Redeemer is like this just now. An action of solidarity that moves me. But I want, above all, to inspire and give more light to our struggle.”
His tweet received more than half a million likes within hours of posting.
Black and impressive. Christ the Redeemer is like that. An act of solidarity that moves me. But I want, above all, to inspire and shed more light on our struggle.
I truly appreciate all the outpouring of love and support I have received over the past few months. Both in Brazil and in the world… pic.twitter.com/zVBcD4eF8k
— Vini Jr. (@vinijr) May 22, 2023
[Translation: “Black and imposing. Christ the Redeemer was like this just now. An action of solidarity that moves me. But I want, above all, to inspire and bring more light to our struggle. I am very grateful for all the current of affection and support I have received in recent months. Both in Brazil and around the world. I know exactly who is who. Count on me because the good ones are the majority and I will not give up. I have a purpose in life, and if I have to suffer more and more so that future generations don’t go through similar situations, I’m ready and prepared.]
Vinicius Jr. emphasized. The game was stopped after the break because Vinicius Jr pointed out to the referee those who allegedly abused him in the stands.
Valencia said police have identified a fan who committed racist acts, and that individual faces a lifetime stadium ban from the Mestalla.
The Brazilian government called on Spanish and sports authorities on Monday to punish those responsible, while the president of world football’s governing body FIFA, Gianni Infantino, expressed his solidarity.
Real Madrid said the racism directed at Vinicius Jr was a “hate crime” and filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.
In a strongly worded statement, his club said: “Real Madrid CF shows the strongest opposition and condemns the events that happened yesterday against our player Vinicius Junior.”
“Real Madrid considers that such attacks also constitute a hate crime, for which it has filed the corresponding complaint with the state attorney general’s office, specifically with the prosecutor’s office against those hate crime and discrimination, so that the facts can be investigated and clear responsibilities. .”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, meanwhile, tweeted: “Zero tolerance for racism in football. Sport is based on the values of tolerance and respect. Hate and xenophobia must have no place in our football or in our society.
Zero tolerance for racism in football.
Sport is based on the values of tolerance and respect.
Hate and xenophobia must have no place in our football or our society. https://t.co/Ru7XwHlziQ
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) May 22, 2023
Other sporting figures such as Kylian Mbappe, Rio Ferdinand, and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton also expressed their support for the 22-year-old Vinicius Jr.
The head of the Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales admitted that there is a real problem of racism in football in the country, where “press releases no longer work”.