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Pelé Criticizes Reaction of Santos Goalkeeper to Racist Offenses
09/11/2014 - 09h03
FROM RIO DE JANEIRO
For Pelé, 73, the Santos goalkeeper Aranha was "hasty" in his response to Grêmio supporters who directed monkey chants at him during the Copa do Brasil match in Porto Alegre, on August 28.
The High Court of Sporting Justice (STJD) punished the abuse by expelling Grêmio from the tournament.
"Aranha was a bit hasty in picking a fight with the fans. If I had stopped the match every time they called me black, or a monkey, we would never have finished a game. The fans are hostile, they shout," said Pelé, a legend of both Santos and the Brazilian national side.
"I think we have to clamp down on racism, but that won't happen in public," he added.
He also referred to the case of racism involving the Barcelona right-back Daniel Alves.
During a La Liga match in April, a Villarreal supporter threw a banana at Alves as he prepared to take a corner kick.
Alves' reaction was to pick up the banana and eat it. The supporter was identified and punished with a lifetime ban from El Madrigal, Villarreal's ground.
"If Daniel [Alves] had picked up the banana and thrown it back into the crowd, we would still be talking about it today. The more attention you give it, the worse things will get," argued Pelé.
HISTORY OF RACISM
Pelé has never been associated with the fight against racism in football.
He has always tried to avoid the issue, or sought to play down its importance, despite having been the target of racist abuse himself on more than one occasion.
In the Libertadores final of 1963, in Buenos Aires, between Santos and Boca Juniors, Pelé was called "monkey" and "filthy black" by the Argentine fans.
"When we took to the field, the Boca fans were singing 'the Brazilian monkeys', to try and rattle us," Pelé said in 2012.
He also said the black Brazilian players were victims of abuse in Sweden during the World Cup of 1958, the first time Brazil lifted the trophy.
Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE
|For Pelé, the Santos goalkeeper Aranha was "hasty" in his response to Grêmio supporters who directed monkey chants at him|