EletiofeReal Madrid's Vinicius Jr. responds after his racist abusers...

Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr. responds after his racist abusers are sentenced to prison: ‘I am a tormentor of racists’


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Jason Owens

Vinícius Júnior declared:

Vinicius Junior declared: “May other racists be afraid, ashamed and hide in the shadows. (Alberto Gardin/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Vinicius Junior has responded after three Valencia soccer fans were sentenced to prison for hate crimes over racist abuse hurled at the Real Madrid forward during a La Liga game, touting himself as “a tormenter of racists.”

Three fans were found guilty of racist behavior targeting Vinicius during a May 2023 game between Spanish rivals Real Madrid and Valencia. They were sentenced to eight months in prison. The Magistrate’s Court of Valencia handed down the sentence Monday alongside a statement.

“The ruling handed down today, which is final, establishes as proven that the three defendants insulted Vinicius with shouts, gestures and chants referring to the color of his skin,” the statement reads.

“These shouts and gestures of a racist nature, consisting among other things in the repetition of the sounds and imitating the movements of monkeys, caused the footballer feelings of frustration, shame and humiliation, with the consequent undermining of his intrinsic dignity.”

The conviction is the first for Spanish soccer fans accused of racist behavior toward players.

The convicts, whose names were not revealed, pleaded guilty to their charges. Per Reuters, they’re first-time offenders and likely to avoid actually serving their sentences. It’s customary in the Spanish legal system for first-time offenders sentenced to less than two years in prison for non-violent crimes to have their sentences suspended.

They are barred from entering soccer stadiums for two years and were ordered to pay the costs of the legal proceedings.

Vinicius was pleased with the conviction and responded with a statement on social media.

Muitos pediram para que eu ignorasse, outros tantos disseram que minha luta era em vão e que eu deveria apenas “jogar futebol”.

Mas, como sempre disse, não sou vítima de racismo. Eu sou algoz de racistas. Essa primeira condenação penal da história da Espanha não é por mim. É por… https://t.co/NdezpJBjF2

— Vini Jr. (@vinijr) June 10, 2024

“Many asked me to ignore it, many others said that my fight was in vain and that I should just ‘play football,'” Vinicius wrote, via translation. “But, as I’ve always said, I’m not a victim of racism. I am a tormentor of racists.

“This first criminal conviction in the history of Spain is not for me. It’s for all black people. May other racists be afraid, ashamed and hide in the shadows. Otherwise, I’ll be here to collect. Thank you to La Liga and Real Madrid for helping with this historic conviction. More to come…”

The incident took place during the 2023 game between the La Liga rivals hosted by Valencia. The game, which Valencia won 1-0, was briefly halted during the second half because of the racist abuse targeting Vinicius, an international star from Brazil who’s frequently targeted by racist fans. A voice over the public address loudspeaker declared during the stoppage: “Racist behavior from certain spectators would not be tolerated.”

Vinicius vowed on social media after the incident to “go to the end against the racists.”

“It wasn’t the first time, not the second and not the third,” Vinicius wrote. “Racism is normal in La Liga. … I’m strong and will go to the end against the racists. Even though it’s far from here.”

La Liga vowed to investigate the incident that ultimately led to the criminal charges against the abusers. La Liga president Javier Tebas issued a statement Monday.

“This ruling is great news for the fight against racism in Spain as it repairs the damage suffered by Vinicius Jr. and sends a clear message to those people who go to a football stadium to insult that La Liga will identify them, report them, and there will be criminal consequences for them,” the statement reads.

Real Madrid also released a statement:

“Real Madrid, which has brought private prosecution together with Vinicius Junior in this procedure, will continue working to protect the values ​​of our club and eradicate any racist behavior in the world of football and sport.”

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