Spanish monarchists angry about football team’s shirts


Spanish national football team's new shirts, EPA photo

This photo shows the Spanish national football team’s new shirts, intended for the world championship in Russia in 2018.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant today:

New red-yellow purple shirts of Spanish team are ‘attack on monarchy

There is a problem with the new Spanish national team football shirt: it is supposedly a secret tribute to the Republican flag.

Spanish republican flag

The football federation president is said to even have received from the highest circles – the king, it is whispered – complaints about the design. On social media, many opponents are calling for a boycott.

By Maartje Bakker

The jersey of the Spanish team is traditionally red and yellow, often with a dash of blue. This time, Adidas, the creator of the shirt, chose to apply thin blue stripes to the red. Any toddler knows: that gives a purple effect. Red-yellow-purple, which are the colours of the Spanish Republic in the thirties. So, an attack on the monarchy and constitution. And just at a time when those, especially from Catalonia, are already very much under fire.

The republican flag always accompanies Catalans demonstrations. The region retains good memories of those years when the Catalan republic (within the Spanish state) was proclaimed, with far-reaching self-government.

Left-wing politicians are delighted with the new national colours. “It’s been a long time since the Spanish selection had such beautiful shirts,” provokes Pablo Iglesias, leader of the socialist protest party Podemos, on Twitter. …

The soccer players seem to be wisest this time. “I think it’s a beautiful shirt”, said Vitolo.

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Barcelona football supporters say free political prisoners


Barcelona protest, AFP photo

This photo is from the terraces of Barcelona football club on 4 November 2017, yesterday, when the home team played Sevilla. The Catalan language slogans demand freedom for political prisoners. The banner behind the football player dolls mentions the Catalan republic, proclaimed recently as independent from the kingdom of Spain.

Barcelona won the match, two goals to one.

This video says about itself:

Spain: Fans prepare to protest for Catalan leaders at Barcelona-Sevilla match

4 November 2017

Volunteers were seen handing out banners to fans with a message calling for freedom of the imprisoned Catalan leaders, outside Barcelona FC stadium Camp Nou, on Saturday night, before the kick-off of the match between Barcelona and Sevilla.

Italian Lazio football hooligans’ anti-Semitism escalation


This video from Italy says about itself:

SS Lazio supporters: antisemitism

25 October 2017

Anti-semitic graffiti: the backdrop for pictures of Anne Frank, which have been doctored to show her wearing a Roma football jersey. Anne Frank was a Dutch Jewish child who died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

This is how some SS Lazio fans chose to express their dedication to their club – and their antagonism to the Italian capital’s rival team – during a recent league game against Cagliari. …

Flirtations with fascism

In a country where “il calcio” is a passion rather than a hobby, [some of] Italy’s most fanatical football supporters, the “ultras”, have long-standing links to fascism. As if to underscore the point, outside Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, home to both Lazio and Roma, stands an obelisk which still bears the inscription “Mussolini, leader”.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Lazio chairman calls synagogue visit after Anne Frank row ‘theater’

Today, 20:41

The Italian football club Lazio is in a controversy again. The club’s chairman, Claudio Lotito, visited a synagogue in Rome after the row about [anti-Semitic] Anne Frank stickers from Lazio fans. During that visit he is said to have qualified it as “theater that is part of routine”.

Lotito went to the synagogue because Lazio came under fire after the anti-Semitic acts by supporters last week. He told the press that the club was working on a new campaign against anti-Semitism. But in the synagogue, Lotito said according to bystanders that the visit had been imposed on him.

The chairman denies the accusations and wants to sue people who maintain that he has made these statements. Evidence against him is that after the visit, the Roman newspaper Il Messaggero published a recording on which he actually appears to speak about a theater play.

Outraged

The Jewish community in Rome reacted furiously to the words the chairman is said to have spoken. A wreath that Lotito brought for his visit to the synagogue was thrown into the water [of the river Tiber].

The question now is how the Italian football federation and authorities will respond to Lotito’s words.

Stickers displaying Anne Frank wearing football jerseys have appeared in Germany as an anti-Semitic provocation by neo-Nazi fans. Dortmund and Leipzig hooligan groups appear to be copying their Italian counterparts: here.

Italian Lazio football hooligans’ anti-Semitism


Paolo Di Canio makes fascist salute

From this blog on 22 May 2011:

Club loses GMB sponsorship after signing football fascist

Sunday 22 May 2011

by Adrian Roberts

The GMB said today that it has decided to end its sponsorship of Swindon Town football club in protest at the appointment of Paolo Di Canio as manager.

GMB said the Italian former player who was named as the new manager of Swindon Town on Friday had previously voiced right-wing views of which it strongly disapproved. …

Mr Di Canio has spoken freely about being a fascist and an admirer of Mussolini. He has faced bans and fines for making the fascist straight-arm salute while playing for Italian club Lazio.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 23 October 2017:

Fans of the Italian football club Lazio Roma have left anti-Semitic slogans and stickers depicting Anne Frank in their stadium. The statements were aimed at supporters of city-mate and arch rivals AS Roma, with whom they share the Olympic Stadium of Rome.

The Lazio fans included stickers depicting Anne Frank in an AS Roma shirt and wrote in graffiti ‘Roma fans are Jews’. …

The stickers and slogans were put there during last Sunday’s match, in the part of the stadium where AS Roma’s fanatical supporters always sit at their home matches.

Lazio’s fans never come there. Last weekend they were sitting there because their “part” of the stadium was closed because of racist shouting aimed at some non-white opponent players during a match a few weeks ago.

Lazio Roma’s fanatical supporters are notorious because of their fascist and extreme right-wing sympathies. This season, the UEFA football league already ordered the club to play a European contest without spectators as a punishment for racist sceaming during a European game of a few seasons ago.

From Associated Press, 23 October 2017:

ROME — Images of Anne Frank wearing a Roma jersey were among the anti-Semitic stickers and graffiti left by Lazio fans that were discovered at the Stadio Olimpico on Monday.

It was the latest in a long line of racist or anti-Semitic incidents involving Lazio supporters.

The northern curva (end) of the stadium where Lazio’s “ultra” fans sit was closed on Sunday for the match with Cagliari due to racist chanting during a match against Sassuolo this month.

As a result, Lazio decided to open the southern end and let the ultras in where Roma’s hard-core fans sit for their home matches.

Stadium cleaners found the anti-Semitic stickers a day later.

The Italian football federation is likely to open an investigation, which could result in a full stadium ban for Lazio. …

Lazio’s ultras have long been known for their far right-wing political stances and fascist leanings. During a 1998 derby, Lazio ultras held up a banner directed at their Roma counterparts that read, “Auschwitz Is Your Country; the Ovens Are Your Homes.”

The latest partial stadium ban stemmed from derogatory chants directed at visiting Sassuolo players Claud Adjapong and Alfred Duncan.

“This is not a curva, this is not football, this is not sport. Keep the anti-Semites out of the stadiums,” tweeted Ruth Dureghello, the president of Rome’s Jewish community. …

Also this season, Lazio beat Belgian side Zulte Waregem 2-0 in a Europa League match behind closed doors due to punishment from UEFA for racist chants aimed at a Sparta Prague player in the Roman side’s last continental appearance two seasons ago.

Donald Trump on American football and dead soldiers


This satiric Mark Fiore video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Sports Network

17 October 2017

Once again, satire is just inches ahead of reality. When the President of the United States calls for people who don’t stand for the national anthem to be fired and speaks wistfully of more violence in sports, you know we’ve gone farther into Kookyland.

TRUMP TELLS PREGNANT WIDOW OF FALLEN SOLDIER: HE KNEW WHAT HE SIGNED UP FOR Trump reportedly told the pregnant widow of a soldier killed in Niger that he “must’ve known what he signed up for,” according to Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson. The hashtag #HeKnewWhatHeSignedUpFor began to trend on Twitter, as many slammed the president for his insensitive phrasing. Trump also politicized the Afghanistan death of his Chief of Staff John Kelly’s son, asking if President Barack Obama had called Kelly after his son was killed by a land mine. [HuffPost]

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S CALL TO SOLDIER’S FAMILY CREATES SELF-MADE FIRESTORM Despite the president claiming otherwise, the mother of fallen soldier Sgt. La David Johnson said the president “disrespected” her family. And White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders raised doubt about the existence of Trump’s claim to “proof” that he never said Johnson “knew what he signed up for.” This Gold Star father says Trump offered him $25,000 and never followed through. Another Gold Star dad said he wanted to learn how to use Twitter to call the president “a liar” over his claims of contacting all of the families of the fallen. [HuffPost]

Retired General John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, made an extraordinary intervention into the political firestorm over President Donald Trump’s crude and lying comments about the official treatment of military casualties in his and previous administrations: here.

Two-and-a-half weeks after the deaths of four US Special Forces troops during a firefight in the landlocked West African nation of Niger, the American media has remained fixated on the ugly controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s condolence call to the grieving widow of one of the soldiers, made as she was driving to the airport to meet his coffin. Accounts given by both family members and Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who was in the car when the call came over the speaker phone, leave no doubt that the indifference of the billionaire conman in the White House to the death of a 25-year-old African-American soldier from an impoverished Florida town, and his incapacity to express empathy for the family came through loud and clear: here.

The militarist diatribe by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired Marine general, at a White House press briefing last week laid bare an open secret of American politics: behind the façade of democratic rule, the United States increasingly resembles a military dictatorship: here.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave a televised press briefing Monday afternoon on the US military presence in the West African country of Niger. His hour-long appearance came in the midst of a mounting clash between the White House and the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of the four US soldiers killed in Niger on October 4: here.

Slain US special forces troops on apparent assassination mission in Niger: here.

Anti-racist American footballer Kaepernick fights injustice


This video from the USA says about itself:

9 October 2017

It was US Army veteran Nate Boyer who suggested to Kaepernick to take a knee as a sign of respect. Kaepernick’s protest was no statement on the military but to call attention to police brutality in America where cops are getting paid leave for murdering unarmed Americans.

Edited by Matt Orfalea.

By Alan Gilman in the USA:

Kaepernick seeks arbitration over NFL blacklisting

16 October 2017

Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick is filing a collusion grievance against National Football League (NFL) owners, according to a document obtained by ABC News.

The filing, which demands an arbitration hearing on the matter, says the NFL and its owners “have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to particular institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.”

Kaepernick drew national attention last season when he knelt during the national anthem before games to protest social injustice, and in particular the large number of police killings of African-Americans. His protest quickly spread, as many other players throughout the league engaged in similar symbolic protests during the anthem. College and high school players also joined in these anthem protests.

The gifted athlete became the target of presidential invective last month, when President Trump told a campaign rally in Alabama that he wanted NFL owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who knelt or otherwise protested during the playing of the national anthem. Several owners have taken up Trump’s call, with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatening to bench any player who follow’s Kaepernick’s example.

Kaepernick began his career with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, and in his six seasons with the 49ers he led them to one Super Bowl appearance and to within one game of another. Last season, when he began his protests, he served as a backup while recovering from shoulder surgery. He regained his starting position by game six, and was the starting quarterback for all but one of the season’s remaining 10 games and finished with a 90.7 quarterback rating—higher than some of the league’s leading quarterbacks such as Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers and Joe Flacco, among others.

After last season, in part because of San Francisco’s poor record and chaotic coaching changes—four different coaches in four seasons—Kaepernick opted out of his contract, thereby making himself a free agent available to be signed by any team for this season.

During the ten months of his free agency, no team has offered Kaepernick a contract. The league’s owners have continued to assert that the refusal of any team to offer him a contract stemmed from his poor on-the-field performance and had nothing to do with his protests against police violence.

This claim, however, has been repeatedly belied by coaches and players throughout the league. In June, Seattle Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll said, “Colin’s been a fantastic football player and he’s going to continue to be … He’s a starter in this league. And we have a starter. But he’s a starter in this league, and I can’t imagine that someone won’t give him a chance to play.”

Before the season began, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins expressed the feelings of many players when he said to the Daily News, “I would love to see him push back, because I do think he’s been blackballed, and there’s plenty of quotes from owners or whoever saying they’re afraid of the backlash they would get.”

Many other players, including such prominent stars as Richard Sherman, Doug Baldwin, Derrick Carr, and Aaron Rodgers have made similar statements, making it clear that the failure of any team to sign Kaepernick is unrelated to his football abilities.

The filing of the collusion claim comes at the end of the sixth week of the season. During this period, several of the league’s starters have been replaced by backups because of poor performance, while others have had to be replaced because of injuries, yet Kaepernick still has received no offers.

He has chosen to file his complaint outside of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), and has retained criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos who has represented a number of high-profile celebrities.

The NFL has very clear and strict rules outlawing teams from colluding against players. Article 17 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) prohibits teams from working together against players and states any victims of collusion are entitled to economic damages (likely the average salary quarterbacks were getting from teams this offseason), as well as additional compensation equal to double whatever those lost wages come to.

Collusion does not require all 32 teams working together, but evidence must establish that at least two individuals colluded against a player to validate a claim. In the 1980s, free-agent baseball players proved Major League Baseball owners were conspiring against them to keep salaries down. An arbitrator awarded the players $280 million in damages.

Kaepernick’s collusion claim comes as Green Bay’s all-pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers sustained a broken collarbone during Sunday’s game, likely ending his season. In August, Rodgers told ESPN Magazine, “I think he (Kaepernick) should be on a team right now. I think because of his protests, he’s not.”

COLIN KAEPERNICK FILES COLLUSION GRIEVANCE AGAINST NFL OWNERS “If the NFL … is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful protest — which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago — should not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the Executive Branch of our government,” his lawyer said in a statement. And several NFL players continued the protest over the weekend. [HuffPost]

German footballers’ solidarity with American footballers against Trump, racism


This video from Germany says about itself:

Hertha Berlin players ‘take a knee’ in solidarity with NFL protests

15 October 2017

Hertha Berlin [soccer club] showed support for NFL players in the US by kneeling before their home game with Schalke. The club’s starting lineup linked arms and took a knee on the pitch, while coaching staff, officials and substitutes took a knee off it. NFL players have been demonstrating against discrimination in the US by kneeling, sitting or locking arms during the national anthem before games. On Twitter, Hertha said: ‘Hertha BSC stands for tolerance and responsibility! For a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world, now and forevermore!’