Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, who said it was necessary for those in control to focus on the role of racism in the sport after the clash with Alvaro Gonzalez on Sunday, acknowledges that he regrets the fact that he “acted like a fool” to receive a red card.
Saying that he now regrets how the situation has escalated, Neymar released a lengthy statement on Monday.
“I revolted yesterday. I was punished with red for trying to attack someone who hurt me,” Neymar.
“I figured I couldn’t quit without doing something when I knew those in charge wouldn’t do something, didn’t know, or disregard the truth. I tried to respond as always during the game: playing football. But I didn’t succeed.”
“I am black, son of black, grandson and great-grandson of black too. I am proud and do not see myself as different from anyone else. Yesterday, I wanted those in charge of the game (referees, assistants) to put themselves impartially and to know that there is no longer any place for a prejudiced behavior.”
“I am saddened by the anger that we can cause as we snap in the middle of the moment, thinking and seeing more of the representation of what happened.”
“Should I have overlooked this? I don’t know yet … Now, I say yes with a level head, but in due time, my companions and I asked the referees for assistance and we were ignored. That’s the point!”
“I accept my punishment because I was meant to follow the direction of clean football. On the other hand, I expect that the offender will be punished too. Racism happens, so we must stop it. No more. Enough!”
“The man was a fool. I was also behaving like a fool to make me get involved in that … I always have the privilege of holding my head high today but we must all bear in mind that not all black and white people are in the same situation.”
“The harm created from the conflict will be catastrophic for both sides. We don’t like to, because you’re black or white, because we shouldn’t mix subjects. We don’t choose skin color. We’re all fair before God.”
“Now, yesterday, I failed in the game and I lacked wisdom. It will not help to be at the center of this situation or to overlook a racist act. I know. But it is our duty to pacify this ‘anti-racism’ campaign so that the less privileged can inevitably gain their protection.”
“We will meet again, and it’s going to be my way: to play football. Keep calm! Stay in Peace! You know what you said … I know what I’ve done. More love to the world.”