Former Ghana international, Sulley Ali Muntari, says the feeling of being racially abused was like ‘being through hell.’
The player has for the past two weeks received widespread applause for walking off the pitch when he was racially abuse in the Italian top flight league. He walked off the pitch in his team, Pescara’s game against Cagliari after he was booked for protesting against racist abuse.
‘‘I’ve been through hell. I was treated just like a criminal. My message to victims of racial abuse is … You should not get scared to talk. You should speak out to set yourself free. Don’t be scared of anybody,’‘ he told the BBC in an interview.
You should not get scared to talk. You should speak out to set yourself free. Don't be scared of anybody.
Describing racial abuse as a ‘disease,’ the Pescara midfielder said he had basically refused to be silent after experiencing it for long and called on others to stand up against it.
‘‘Yeah we need to come together, we need to build a strong team that can fight this disease (here), I call and it is a disease. So if Fifpro comes together and all the important people that are needed. Definitely, we have to come together and fight it,’‘ he said in another interview.
He tasked others to stand for their rights and fail to be quiet because remaining silent gives victory to the abusers, who at all cost must not win.
The Italian football federation subsequently rescinded a one-match ban imposed on him after an appeal by the players’ body in the country. The United Nations rights chief, FIFA boss and anti-racism groups have all slammed the Italian football federation for the inaction on the said issue.
Cagliari, whose fans abused Muntari escaped any punishment with the reason being that only about 10 fans were to blame for the abuse.