A lot has happened in football since Valencia CF beat Real Madrid 1-0 on Sunday, 21 May – not only has Vinícius Jr.’s questionable red card been overturned and arrests have been made, but brands and athletes are offering some well-deserved support to the Brazilian winger who’s been on the receiving end of a series of racial abuse in Spain.
Vini Jr. received a red card after an on-pitch altercation occurred between Vini and the Valencia players that all began after a group of Valencia fans could be heard chanting racial slurs towards Vivi Jr. during Sundays game. Three men have since been arrested for the racist act.
Yesterday, Nike took a stance and confirmed that they stand behind the 22-year-old baller, who’s racial abuse that he’s received dates back a lot further than Sunday.
Other brands and footballers such as PUMA, Neymar Jr., Mbappé, Pogba, and the entire Real Madrid squad who all wore Vini Jr. and his ’20’ squad number on the back of their shirts during yesterday’s home game against Rayo Vallecano, have all offered their support to the 22-year-old.
Following the events, Vinícius Jr. shared a video on Instagram showing just a slice of some of the abuse he’s received while playing in Spain’s top division football league, La Liga.
One of the most shocking scenes happened on January 26, when a group of men hung a Vinícius Jr.-shaped model with a banner that read “Madrid hates Real” off of a bridge in Madrid, moments before Real Madrid played their local rivals Atlético Madrid.
Four men in question for hanging the model that wore a Vini Jr. kit off of the bridge by the neck of the inflatable model, were arrested on Tuesday, May 23.
While La Liga has publicly condemned the acts and fined Valencia €45,000, Vinícius has called out the league for “doing nothing” about the racism he’s endured in Spain.
While the number of athletes coming forward to state they stand in support with Vinícius is promising, Adidas, the official kit sponsors for Real Madrid, are yet to publicly express their support for the young player.