Liverpool's Wijnaldum: All players should walk off in case of racist abuse
The Liverpool midfielder said he believes a collective stance is required by all players on the pitch in order to stop racist abuse.
Liverpool and Holland midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has said that he believes all players should abandon the pitch if a team mate or opponent is racially abused during a game.
Afer telling CNN Sport that he would have no issue walking off the pitch if he were subjected to racist abuse, Wijnaldum added: "I think everyone should [walk off]. That's the way you support another person, because why should you go on?
"If you go on it will never stop, because the people will think 'OK, we will abuse the player, they will go inside, we will stop a little bit, but they will come outside again, we will play the game, so why should we stop?’”
Wijnaldum on Balotelli case
Earlier this month, Brescia striker Mario Balotelli was racially abused during his side’s 2-1defeat at Hellas Verona.
The abuse prompted the former Liverpool and Manchester City striker to kick the ball into the stands and threaten to walk of the pitch. Balotelli was eventually convinced to stay on the field by his fellow players. However Wijnaldum believes those same players should have supported the Italian striker by walking off with him.
"It frustrates me a lot to see that because you don't know what he is feeling," said the Dutch player.
"With Balotelli it was not the first time it happened, so you don't know what he is feeling. Why don't you support him and walk with him from the pitch? Why don't you do that?
"They will say 'Don't let them get in your head', but they don't feel the pain of the person who gets racially abused.”
Following the incident at Hellas Verona, Brescia’s own president Massimo Cellino has drawn outrage over controversial comments he made about Balotelli.
Asked about the player during an event on Monday, Cellino responded: “He's black, what can I say, he's working on clearing himself but he's having a lot of difficulty.”
Brescia quickly moved to issue a statement in which it played down the president’s comments, insisting that they were “misunderstood” and meant as a joke.
“Concerning the declarations released this afternoon by President Massimo Cellino, referring to our player Mario Balotelli, Brescia Calcio evidently deals with a paradoxical joke, clearly misunderstood, released in an attempt to defuse excessive media exposure and with intent to protect the player himself,” it said.
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