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Progressivism Comes to Soccer: Cavani is Investigated for Saying “Gracias, Negrito” to a Friend

futbolista, cavani, racismo

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It was a great Sunday for Edinson Cavani —a historical Uruguayan footballer with more than 400 goals as a professional—, his team, Manchester United, had come back from 2-0 away thanks to two goals and an assist from “El Matador”, from Salto.

The 2-1 for the Red Devils was made by the Portuguese Bruno Fernandes, an exquisite midfielder, previous center of Cavani. The 2-2 and 3-3 were the work of Edinson; both headers, the first one with a dive in the area finding a deflected shot -goal of scorer, dictates the soccer jargon- and the third one anticipating a sending in extremis to give a vital triumph to his team.

Basically, a round day for the forward from Salto, Uruguay. Who, since he had arrived in Manchester, did not enjoy great prominence and was still in the middle of his adaptation period to English soccer.

But the “racism” of the soccer player would arrive

Things were going well until a post on Instagram came along, that social network where the inflamed egocentrism faithfully reflects in millions of users what today’s progressivism is: facade and hypocrisy.

“This is how I want to see you matador, Matador”, wrote a user friend of Cavani’s congratulating the footballer for his great performance. Edinson, in gratitude, answered the story with a “thank you, blackie.” This is how it all started.

Cavani, racismo, progresismo, futbolista
Message from Cavani’s friend who was answered with a “black thank you”, which earned the footballer the distinction of being a racist. (screenshot).

Indignation came first. Several users pointed out Cavani as a racist, since his message had a “clear racial connotation,” they argued.

But well, that’s common, today the networks serve as a breeding ground to decontextualize any expression without taking into account the origin, culture or idiosyncrasies of the originator. It has touched artists, individuals and also footballers. Nothing new.

The unusual thing was what happened later, The Football Association (FA), that is, the governing body of the soccer association in England, opened a file for racism against the Uruguayan footballer for that post. Yes, for putting “gracias, negrito” to a friend of his.

Although this was ridiculed by journalists, users, and fans of soccer in South America —for example, Juan Pablo Varsky, one of the most important sports journalists in Latin America, echoed the news with a “You can’t be serious”— the English press, quite the opposite of the South American focus, took Cavani’s post and the FA’s investigation of the Uruguayan very seriously.

Juan Pablo Varsky’s tweet echoing the news.

The Daily Mail published the news as follows: “Edinson Cavani faces FA investigation after provoking a storm of racism by calling a fanatic ‘nigger’ in an Instagram publication.

The Daily Mail called the user a fanatic, but in the article contradicted itself by calling him an “alleged friend.” This is ridiculous because a soccer player, out of millions of fans, is not going to thank a private individual if he does not have a minimal friendly relationship. Common sense.

The note also has parts like: “his heroism at St Mary’s (stadium where Cavani had a great performance) was overshadowed when he published a Spanish term with racial connotations in the social media.”

This demonstrates two things: I. The press took “the racial controversy” very seriously, and II. That they don’t care at all about the context, just the controversy.

Edinson Cavani is a footballer who, besides being a striker of the time, has been characterized by his humility, perseverance and work away from controversy. He has never before been involved in problems of a social, political or scandalous nature.

The “gracias, negrito”, not only in Uruguay but in several parts of South America, is used in a colloquial way and with affection towards friends, children or grandchildren. Grandparents call their grandchildren “negritos” even if they are not dark skinned.

Cavani comes from Salto, a city in Uruguay where the term is very common, even more so than in other parts of the South American region. In fact, when Luis Suárez —another great Uruguayan striker who has been Cavani’s teammate for the last decade in the national team— bit the Italian Chiellini in the 2014 Brazil World Cup, his grandmother, Lila Píriz, declared: “I don’t know what happened to my negrito,” in reference to white-skinned Suarez who, like Cavani, is from Salto.

Video from the Diario El País Uruguay newspaper about the origins of the Uruguayan footballer.
Bruno Fernandes, Cavani, racismo
Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani, Manchester United stars on Sunday for the Premier League. (AFP).

The worst thing is that Cavani could face a multi-party sanction. An unfair one because, needless to say, his words were not at all racist.

In fact, FA research reliably demonstrates the ignorance of institutions and the bias characteristic of the time to target issues where there are none. They claim to fight racism, but in reality they are just a facade.

That thousands of people have been outraged at Cavani for his “racism” is absurd, but more regrettable is the open record, for it is a stain on a player who has behaved in an exemplary manner off the field.

Unfortunately, this situation also throws in our faces a regrettable fact: progressive stupidity has come to soccer. 

Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.

Contacto: [email protected]

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