Luis Suarez joins anti-racism banana campaign on Twitter
Dani Alves sparks a social media movement, and even the controversial Liverpool striker joins in
THE simple act of eating a banana could have acquired a new significance in the fight against racism after Barcelona footballer Dani Alves cocked a snook at hooligans by picking up a banana that had been thrown at him during a match, before peeling it and taking a bite.
Video of his actions went viral and footballers and other celebrities soon began posting pictures of themselves eating the fruit on social networking sites as an act of solidarity.
Among them was controversial Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who was handed an eight-game ban for racially abusing Manchester United player Patrice Evra in 2011. But his rehabilitation now appears to be complete after he was awarded the PFA Player of the Year award at the weekend, with Evra among those voting for him.
The use of bananas by racist fans to taunt non-white players stretches back decades – John Barnes and Viv Anderson were pelted with the fruit during the 1980s. Such actions are now almost unhead of in Britain but still happen elsewhere.
However, Alves's humorous response to the provocation may have turned the tables on the bigots.
Among the first players to pick up on his actions was his Barcelona and Brazil team-mate Neymar, whose Instagram shot featured the hashtag #weareallmonkeys, which soon became a trending topic.
Others to have posted similar photos include Man City striker Sergio Aguero; Italian forward Mario Balotelli; Oscar, David Luiz and Willian of Chelsea; and Spurs stars Emmanuel Adebayor, Nacer Cahdli and Mousa Dembele. The movement has been particularly popular in Brazil where celebrities have joined in.
In one single action, Dani Alves did more to fight racism than any UEFA/FIFA 'Say No to Racism' has ever done.
— Tom Conn (@TomConnISF) April 28, 2014
However, Suarez's contribution, via a picture of himself and team-mate Phillippe Coutinho eating bananas on Twitter, has raised eyebrows given his track record.
— Luis Suarez (@luis16suarez) April 28, 2014
"Oh the irony," says Caughtoffisde. "Liverpool's Luis Suarez has joined the anti-racism campaign on Twitter."
The Uruguayan was almost forced out of the English game in 2011 after his run-in with Evra. He was eventually handed an eight-match ban but insisted that he had not been racist towards the Manchester United player by calling him 'negrito' during the match.
Admirable sentiment from Suarez. Can't help but feel it would carry rather more weight had he shown any remorse for racially abusing someone
— Tom Adams (@tomEurosport) April 28, 2014