Given soccer's history in general, and Italy's in particular, it's always really awful and disappointing when another incidence of racism crops up. Most recently, Ansoumana Sané, a 19-year-old Senegalese midfielder who plays for Pontedera, was subjected to a racist remark in a Serie D match this past Saturday.
When asked about the incident, Sané replied, "I didn't say anything to the referee. I'm used to it. Almost every Sunday, I heard racist insults directed at me. Usually it's from someone sitting in the stands; occasionally it's from opposing players. It's sad, but true. Getting angry every time won't help anything." Siena Robur, for their part, have denied that anything occurred, implying that the victim made up the story; if he hasn't named a perpetrator, the club claims, it never happened.
As bad as this incident is, it's sparked an outpouring of support for Sané from all over the peninsula, including from Fiorentina's Khouma Babacar, who said: "I hope that Ansoumana continues to give it his all, to cultivate his dream and to not listen to these things, because they do not matter. We are all equal and we have to be judged on what we do. I'm lucky because I've never been the victim of similar insults. I have always met people who made me feel at home without bias or discrimination."
As Sané has thus far declined to name who insulted him, it looks like the matter is set to end there, in the procedural sense. No action will be taken by league or player. Nobody will get punished. We won't even know who did it. All told, it's just another drop in the bucket, a moment that will pass unremembered into history, a brief reminder of the fact that--although it's 2016 (2016!)--this is still happening.
I'd just like to editorialize a little bit here. I know it's really easy, especially for us here, to think that this is something that only happens at Siena or Lazio or wherever, but that's dangerous. Even at a club like Fiorentina (one of the more politically liberal clubs in Italy), and even in a community like this one (which is smart and thoughtful and generally entirely excellent), remember that these racist, mouth-breathing troglodytes are just as much a part of the game as we are, which sucks. What it means for us, as fans, is that we have to break Newtonian physics and provide a much greater reaction against this kind of fear and ignorance. We need to keep this thing from being another drop in the pail of bigotry. We need to make this, and every subsequent incident, a BIG DEAL, until it's no longer a thing and we can all just enjoy the damn game.