Barcelona defender Dani Alves is still the talk of the soccer world after he ate a banana that was thrown at him by a racist during Sunday’s game at Villarreal.
It turns out that his response wasn’t spontaneous. It was a carefully orchestrated, professional campaign designed to call attention to the racism that has plagued Spanish soccer for years.
According to the Spanish newspaper AS, Alves and his teammate Neymar consulted with a Brazilian advertising agency called Loducca after Neymar was racially abused with monkey chants in a game against Espanyol on March 29.
Monkey chants, bananas, and other racist fan behaviour has been commonplace in Spanish soccer for years, and the teammates wanted to finally do something about it.
The plan was for Neymar, one of the most famous players in the world, to eat a banana on camera in the middle of a game the next time a racist fan threw one at him — prompting an anti-racism campaign that would spread throughout the soccer world.
Four weeks later, this plan went down exactly how they drew it up when a banana landed on the field at the Barcelona-Villarreal match.
The only change was that Alves ate the banana instead of Neymar.
Neymar’s publicity team posted this picture on Instagram right after the game with the hashtag #TodosSomosMacacos (translated: “we are all monkeys”), and the campaign was off and running:
The Villarreal fan who threw the banana was banned for life.
Alves’ response wasn’t spur-of-the-moment, which will probably disappoint some people. But it’s not like it was a PR stunt. Neymar and Alves aren’t making any money off of this.
They went out of their way to take a stand against something that has long been tolerated in Spain, and their campaign has been an enormous success.
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