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when the beautiful game turns ugly

06/06/13

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wright thompson tackles racism in italian soccer in this month’s espn mag:

I’ve given up hope of ever fully understanding the fractured things I saw while chasing the Serie A soccer circus around Italy. Let me be honest. I got sent to write about racism, which I found in staggering amounts. But Italy isn’t like America, and racism there is tied into a thousand years of feuds, and hatred of anyone different, even if they’re from only a few miles away, and fascism, and the recent wave of immigration. That’s all in here, but it’s unfair to hide my predicament, which became clear after only a day or two. I’d fallen into a parallel universe of contradictions.

thompson travels everywhere from football terraces to refugee camps, trying to unpack things like a fan who was “a great dude…until he started quoting hitler and dropping n-bombs” or why home-born italians like soccer star mario balotelli are subject to xenophobic vitriol in their own country.  he finds that the issues extend to all levels of football and in some cases, start with deep-rooted problems that stretch beyond the pitch.  follow his journey in the compelling article below and let know what you think.

When The Beautiful Game Turns Ugly – Wright Thompson – ESPN

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