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Pele says publicity fuels racism

Updated: 2015-02-13 07:45
(China Daily)

Brazilian legend Pele said on Wednesday he thinks racist incidents in soccer are blown out of proportion and that if there was less publicity given those responsible the problem would likely go away.

"If everyone did as (Brazil star) Daniel (Alves), when they threw a banana at him as he took a corner, if they ate it and did nothing then nobody would do anything again," Pele told UOL web news portal, referring to last year's incident during a Barcelona game.

On that occasion Alves was praised for coolly picking up the banana and eating it.

But Pele said his point was that racist fans thrived on the attention accorded to their actions.

"The big problem is focusing the attention on these idiots who go to games, who are not fans but delinquents," insisted three-time world champion Pele.

In contrast, fellow Brazilian world champion Ronaldo had blasted his compatriot for expressing similar sentiments in an interview last September.

Pointing to his own experience, Pele insisted that shrugging off racism and carrying on playing was the way to react.

"If I'd started fighting back every time they used the N-word on me in the US, Latin America and Brazil, I'd still be embroiled in legal cases the world over," said the 74-year-old, nicknamed 'O Rei' (the king).

Pele says publicity fuels racism

(China Daily 02/13/2015 page19)

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