“He was the only one who had permission because his colour is a little different than ours.” – Cesare Prandelli.
What exactly was Prandelli thinking when he made this comment? Oh, it was a joke. Okay. Who does he think he is again? Because last time I checked he was the manager of the Italian national team. Not Roy Chubby Brown or Jim Davidson.
So a little back story.
With all the protests that are going on in Brazil at the moment, the security team in charge of looking after Italy advised that no one leaves the hotel. When it emerged that Mario Balotelli had, Prandelli was asked why Balotelli was allowed to leave, while obviously no one else did. So here comes the punch line. “He was the only one who had permission because his colour is a little different than ours.” Was that followed by rapturous laughter? I doubt it. As far as jokes go, that has to be one of the worst. And coming from a man that looks Kenneth Conner from the Carry On movies.
Prandelli had later back tracked making clear that his comment was a joke. Because it wasn’t funny and he saw the what the hell did he just say look. Is there much malice in those words? No. There isn’t. And no action should come from it. But it is for Mario Balotelli himself that I feel for.
I have grown up in a country where, yes racism does rear its ugly head from time to time. But on the whole it has become a much better and well adjusted country. This is a comment that could have been said in the eighties and it still would have been a little sensitive. But that was thirty years ago. Has the Italian society and mindset not moved on in the last thirty years. Or are they just playing catch up?
How will Balotelli take this and react with it. So far there hasn’t been anything said from him. So maybe it is much a do about nothing. But I still think it is a great shame that again football is involved with such stupid comments.
One could expect it from the like of say a director of football and a club up in the North East of the country, but not off one of a National football team.