Serie A club AS Roma has come out in support of Brescia striker Mario Balotelli. Roma has always been an advocate of anti-racism and expressed its solidarity with the striker, who was subjected to racist chants and howls from the Verona's Ultras. In its tweet, AS Roma said that whether it was 20 people or 2000, racist abuse was unacceptable. The tweet further stated that it was time to choose a side and stand up against those who wanted to destroy the game of football that everyone loves.
As a club, #ASRoma stands with Mario Balotelli, who was racially abused on Sunday.— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) November 5, 2019
Whether it’s 20 people or 2,000, racist abuse is never acceptable.
It’s time to choose a side - those prepared to stand up to racism and those who will allow it to destroy this game we all love pic.twitter.com/7COrDOL2jQ
Since the incident, Balotelli has received a lot of support, along with a few negative comments. On Monday, the leader of Verona Ultras Luca Castellini stated in a radio interview that Balotelli was an Italian only because he had Italian citizenship and that did not make him a true patriot. He further added that 'a negro' on his team had scored a goal in the controversial match and had been applauded by the crowd. So, there was no question of racism. According to a news website, Castellini said that only four people were racist and that the chants that Balotelli heard were in his head.
Balotelli responded to Castellini’s comments, calling him ignorant and small-minded. He further challenged Castellini’s claims that he was not Italian by stating that people were happy to call him an Italian when he guaranteed goals while playing in the Italian national team. Meanwhile, Verona has been handed a partial stadium ban. They have been asked to shut down the Poltrona Est Stand, the section of the stadium where the racial abuse was heard for the next match on November 24 against Fiorentina.