Arrests for hanging doll Real player Vinícius Jr. from bridge
Spanish police have arrested four suspects for hanging a black doll with the shirt of Real Madrid player Vinícius Junior on a bridge, in January this year. Hanging above the doll was a banner reading “Madrid hates Real.
The inflatable doll had been hung from the neck in the morning on the day the derby between Real and Atlético Madrid was played in the Spanish Cup competition. The police had announced the opening of an investigation into a possible racist motive after the removal of the doll.
The suspects were able to be traced using images from security cameras. The message on the banner is more often used by fanatical supporters of Atlético, but fan groups from that club denied having anything to do with the doll.
Brazilian striker Vinícius has faced racism more often. Two days ago, a match against Valencia was briefly interrupted because of an uproar after a supporter behind one of the goals called him a monkey and made monkey gestures at him. After the match, Vinícius (who also received a red card for the riot) reacted furiously to the incident.
He stated on Instagram that the Spanish soccer league “now belongs to racists.” He believes Spanish clubs and soccer organizations should do more to put an end to this.
Expressions of support
Real Madrid has spoken out loudly against the racism against the winger. Vicínius has received expressions of support from athletes around the world. In Brazil, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, normally a beacon of light over Rio de Janeiro, remained dark for an hour in support of the soccer player.
Vicínius said on Twitter he was moved by the solidarity:
The Spanish League organization has said it will do more to “eradicate any form of violence, racism or xenophobia inside and outside the stadium.” The League has filed nine charges of racism against Vinícius in the past two seasons. In most cases, prosecutors did not pursue charges.
The hanged doll in Madrid is reminiscent of a 2016 incident in the Netherlands. A man had hung a puppet of Feyenoord goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer in the Amsterdam Arena. The front of the shirt read “NSB,” referring to Kenneth Vermeer’s switch from Ajax to Feyenoord. The perpetrator received a 60-hour unconditional community service and a two-year stadium ban.