It’s fair to say that any reasonable person is going to agree that there is no place in football or life for racism, but things really do get messy when claims are made that can’t be properly verified.
There was carnage at the end of the PSG vs Marseille game tonight as five players were sent off after a massive scuffle, while Neymar plead his case to the linesman to say that he only acted because he was racially abused:
Neymar tells the fourth official there was a racist incident after receiving his marching orders…
We expect to hear much more fallout from tonight's Le Classique. pic.twitter.com/U6ELYKNaXp
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 13, 2020
These are claims that have to be taken seriously and some French TV pundits appear to have made some claims about what was said, but at the time of writing there is no video/sound evidence and no players from either side have come forward to give definitive proof either way.
Neymar has since doubled down with a tweet of his own which claimed his only regret was not smacking him in the face:
Único arrependimento que tenho é por não ter dado na cara desse babaca
— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) September 13, 2020
Critics will say that Neymar regularly acts up and can’t take defeat, but his actions and claims here are far beyond any gamesman ship so realistically you have to believe his side of events if he’s saying these things.
The Marseille defender at the centre of the storm Alvaro Gonzalez has since hit back with a fierce denial of his own, while he also makes reference to Neymar being a bad loser and how he needs to learn how to lose:
No existe lugar para el racismo. Carrera limpia y con muchos compañeros y amigos en el día a día. A veces hay que aprender a perder y asumirlo en el campo. Increibles 3 puntos hoy. Allez l’OM? Gracias familia?????? pic.twitter.com/4DuUT1PT0x
— Álvaro González (@AlvaroGonzalez_) September 13, 2020
It’s another example where it’s hard to know what to make of this until something is definitively proved, but that is going to haunt the defender if it’s proven he has made racist comments and he’s made such a public show of denial.
The one thing that is clear is that this is an ugly mess and an awful look for French football, while it’s impossible to actually know what’s happened for now.
Expect there to be a lot more fall out in the next few days, but hopefully we do get a proper answer to what went down to avoid the situation being left with one person’s words against the other.