Swirls racism in a stemless wine glass; inhales deeply.
This past weekend, in the fabled Russian Premier League, Brazilian and Zenit St. Petersburg superhero Hulk was the target of heart-felt monkey chants from visiting Spartak Moscow fans. It was the latest chapter in soccer’s casual racism book.
Inspired by Russian fans’ aptitude for high-level racial banter, we thought it would be a good time to launch our Racism Power Rankings, recognizing world-class episodes of properly aged, vintage racism in the world’s game. Let’s get started, shall we?
(Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)
5) CSKA Moscow fans (Russia)
Last month, CSKA Moscow away fans unfurled a far-right banner during their UEFA Champions League match against Roma. Proficient multi-taskers, the CSKA fans also found time to clash with police officers during the match, successfully halting the game for a few minutes. UEFA charged CSKA for racist behavior, which resulted in an order to play their next three home European matches behind closed doors.
This was the third time this year that CSKA was fined for racism. They truly do seem to be a dedicated bunch.
(Photo: Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images)
4) Hulk – Spartak Moscow fans (Russia)
Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned monkey chant? Especially one that resonates from the belly instead of the throat, which produces a much more hollow sound (PRO-TIP).
Spartak Moscow fans, it seems, heart the money chant. As mentioned above, Zenit St. Petersburg’s Hulk was the victim this past weekend. Understandably, Hulk was not pleased.
Hulk noted, “I clearly heard monkey chants shouted in my direction and this was not only on one occasion. It was coming from a large group of people.”
I’m starting to think that Russian clubs are advertising “Monkey Chant Nights” for families.
(Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
3) Christopher Samba – Torpedo Moscow fans (Russia)
Two years ago, Congolese international Christopher Samba, then playing at Anzhi Makhachkala, noted, “Everyone knows Zenit [St. Petersburg] supporters are no good and racist.”
Samba is, sadly, a bit of an expert on the topic, as just last week, while playing for his latest club, Dynamo Moscow, the defender was subjected to racist abuse by Torpedo Moscow fans. This wasn’t Samba’s first episode.
Samba responded to the abuse by showing fans an “unpleasant gesture,” known in non-legalese as a middle finger. The Russian Football Union subsequently banned him for two games for his reaction, because there must be zero tolerance for racism, I suppose. And, really, Samba should have known better. Ivorian defender Dacosta Goore was banned two games last year for responding to racial abuse from Torpedo fans with the same prominent finger. That was a year after those same Torpedo fans hurled racial abuse and snowballs (yes, you read that correctly) at Goore.
None of this, however, is to suggest that there isn’t a family-friendly atmosphere at Russian grounds. From time to time, it seems you can watch “a father and his young son roll snowballs in the stands before the father points out a black player and tells his son: ‘Hit the n*****.’”
Actually, screw this; let’s just stop the power rankings. We have a TKO (technical knockout, for the non-boxing fans). It’s clear that Russia truly is the reigning heavyweight champion of fan racism.
New list, one spot:
Racism Power Rankings
Hands Russia Racism Power Rankings belt.
By the way, a belated congratulations to Russia for winning the right to host the 2018 World Cup! Good times, folks. Good times. *curls into fetal position and cries*