During a Serie A encounter between Roma and Sampdoria, Roma fans were racially abusing the opposition manager, Dejan Stankovic, who comes from Serbia. The abuse was prompted by Stankovic’s protests after his player Jeison Murillo was shown a red card. The Roma Ultras targetted Stankovic with racist abuse from the terraces concerning his heritage. This prompted Jose Mourinho, the Roma manager, to leap out of his dugout and wave his hand at his own fans, begging them to stop the abuse. Mourinho’s actions were heartening for Stankovic, who beat his chest as a sign of respect to his opposite number. Speaking after the game, Stankovic thanked Mourinho for his actions, saying that he was proud of who he is and where he comes from. Mourinho added that he did it for a great man and a great friend, and that his friends are not to be touched.
Stankovic played under Mourinho at Inter Milan and was part of the side that won the Champions League, Serie A title, and Coppa Italia in 2009-10. As for the game, Roma eventually won 3-0 with goals from Georginio Wijnaldum, Paulo Dybala, and Stephan El Shaarawy. The win moved Roma into fifth spot in the table and level on points with Inter in fourth as both fight for that final Champions League spot. Sampdoria, on the other hand, face a very different battle against relegation as they sit in 19th position.
It is unfortunate that racism still exists in football, despite numerous efforts to eradicate it. The abuse hurled at Stankovic is unacceptable and has no place in society. It is commendable that Mourinho took action to stop the abuse and that Stankovic was heartened by his actions. It is important for everyone involved in football to take a stand against racism and discrimination and to work towards creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all.