Carlos Sánchez didn’t have a good World Cup. He was sent off just 3 minutes into Colombia’s Group H opener against Japan for a handball in the box, then conceded a penalty against England in the Round of 16 when he dragged down Harry Kane at the back post during a corner. As a result, he’s faced some truly horrific abuse from his countrymen, including death threats and comparisons to Andrés Escobar, the Colombia defender who was murdered in 1994 shortly after scoring an own goal in the World Cup.
This is obviously pretty goddamn awful for every reason you can think of, and I don’t think I need to lay out why. Threatening someone you’ve never met with murder is evil and cowardly regardless of circumstance, but doing so over a football match is the sort of violently childish behavior that gets fans of the sport branded as goons and hooligans. Colombian police are investigating the case right now, but the anonymity that the Internet bestows on these pathetic little men (and it’s almost always men) makes it likely that nothing will come of it, even as Carlos Bacca and Mateus Uribe, who both failed to score in the penalty shootout against England, have suffered the same treatment.
I’m not going to link to the hate-speech that’s been directed at Sánchez, but you can doubtless find it if you want to. Instead, I’d like to invite everyone who’s on social media to give him a shout—he’s super-active on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram—and remind him that Fiorentina fans (and everyone who’s not wholly awful) think that he’s great.
Because he is: he’s always come across as one of the sweetest, nicest, and most genuine players in recent Viola memory. He collapsed in tears when he heard about Davide Astori’s death last year and had to be carried away because he was crying so hard, but it’s his infectious smile and non-stop positivity that make him stand out. He’s one of the guys who organizes nights out for the team and always seems so delighted to be doing so, and to just be alive, that we have nothing but love for him.
Te queremos, Roca, y quédate fuerte.