Marco Andre Zoro
The Messina full back and Ivory Coast international, Marco Andre Zoro, took a defiant stand against racist abuse in the home match to Internazionale last Sunday. Persistent monkey chants and other racial abuse had been directed at him by some of Inter's fans'... and 21 minutes into the second half he had enough of it. He picked up the ball and approached the referee to request the match be suspended.
As far as I'm aware I've not heard of a player taking this ultimate action, and I'm moved by Zoro's decision to undertake it. Eventually, Adriano, Martins, Materazzi and the referee persuaded Zoro that the match should go on. Zoro said:
“I don’t want to be an attention-seeker, but I won’t have people coming to my stadium, to my home, and shouting racist insults at me. I agreed to go back onto the field only because I didn’t want to make Inter Milan lose the match, or to be disrespectful to the other players”.
The shocking racial abuse directed at black England players in Madrid last year highlighted to an English audience that racist chants is far from being eradicated on the continent of Europe. There was talk that Sven should have called his players off the pitch: and so make the ultimate demonstration of football's intolerance of racism.
Zoro decided that he must take this action in protest at the unacceptable treatment he was receiving. The fact that it highlighted to a global audience the racist abuse targeted at him, and that more has to be done by the Italian football authorities to tackle this problem, is vindication alone for his courageous decision.