Our Star of the Week is Ghanaian footballer Sulley Muntari, who plays for Pescara in the Italian topflight league Serie A. On Sunday he made a bold statement when he abandoned the pitch after he was ironically shown a yellow card for complaining about racist chanting towards him from the crowd during his team’s 1-0 defeat at Cagliari.
Muntari said he had complained that parts of the crowd, including a group of children, had hurled racist insults at him from the start of the match but despite his genuine grievance the referee then told him to stop talking to the crowd and ended up showing him the yellow card for dissent in the 90th minute – causing Muntari to abandon the pitch in retaliation.
Muntari’s courageous decision was the talking point within the global football fraternity, with many throwing their weight behind the veteran Ghanaian midfielder, praising him for making a bold move and standing up against racism. Among the many prominent figures that aired their voice regarding the issue was United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein who hailed Muntari as an “inspiration”.
Al-Hussein called Muntari “an inspiration to all of us here at the U.N. human rights office” for taking a stand. The persistent problem of racism at games required “added attention or deepened attention by Fifa”, he told reporters in Geneva.