Rio’s Christ the Redeemer Monument Goes Dark in Solidarity with Vinicius Jr. Against Racism
Brazil demonstrated its solidarity with footballer Vinicius Jr. by turning off the lights on Rio de Janeiro’s iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer for an hour. The Real Madrid winger had been subjected to discriminatory comments and actions from fans during a match against Valencia, highlighting the ongoing issue of racism in football. In response, Brazil’s Archdiocesan Sanctuary coordinated with the Brazilian FA and the Observatory of Racial Discrimination in Football to symbolically condemn the incident and express support for Vinicius Jr.
Racial Abuse Against Vinicius Jr.:
Vinicius Jr. faced racial abuse from the stands during Real Madrid’s match against Valencia, prompting him to identify the perpetrators to match officials. While the game was temporarily halted and a warning was issued to the fans involved, this was not the first time the Brazilian player had encountered racist taunts during away matches in La Liga. He took to social media to denounce the discriminatory behavior and called for action against the offenders, sharing a video that exposed the extent of the verbal attacks he endured.
Christ the Redeemer Goes Dark:
In a symbolic act of solidarity, the Archdiocesan Sanctuary turned off the lights of Christ the Redeemer at 6 pm local time. This initiative, in collaboration with the Brazilian FA and the Observatory of Racial Discrimination in Football, aimed to condemn the racist incidents faced by Vinicius Jr. The Archdiocesan Sanctuary posted on Instagram, expressing its repudiation of the attacks and stating that turning off the monument’s lighting signified the collective fight against racism and support for Vinicius Jr. and all victims of prejudice worldwide.
Vinicius Jr.’s Response:
Vinicius Jr. expressed his gratitude for the gesture, sharing an image of Christ the Redeemer against the moon and emphasizing his determination to continue the fight against racism. In his social media caption, he acknowledged the outpouring of support he had received and pledged to inspire and bring more awareness to the struggle against racism. The Brazilian player recognized that despite facing adversity, he would not give up and was prepared to endure further challenges for the sake of future generations.
Preto e imponente. O Cristo Redentor ficou assim há pouco. Uma ação de solidariedade que me emociona. Mas quero, sobretudo, inspirar e trazer mais luz à nossa luta.
Agradeço demais toda a corrente de carinho e apoio que recebi nos últimos meses. Tanto no Brasil quanto mundo… pic.twitter.com/zVBcD4eF8k
— Vini Jr. (@vinijr) May 22, 2023
Global Support and Calls for Action:
The Brazilian government called upon Spanish authorities to take action against those responsible for the racist attacks on Vinicius Jr. Furthermore, influential figures from the footballing world, including Kylian Mbappe, Rio Ferdinand, Neymar, and Brazilian legend Ronaldo, expressed their support for the player. The widespread solidarity demonstrated the collective condemnation of racism in football and the need for concerted efforts to combat this issue.
Brazil's president sends a message of support to Vinicius Junior ✊ pic.twitter.com/rvL1B5Wous
— GOAL (@goal) May 22, 2023
The symbolic act of turning off the lights on Christ the Redeemer demonstrated Brazil’s solidarity with Vinicius Jr. and its commitment to fighting racism. The Real Madrid winger’s experience of racial abuse during a La Liga match against Valencia brought the issue to the forefront once again. The support he received from the Archdiocesan Sanctuary, the Brazilian FA, and the football community worldwide highlights the importance of addressing and eradicating racism in football. Through collective efforts, it is hoped that Vinicius Jr.’s ordeal will inspire change and contribute to a future where racial discrimination is no longer tolerated in the sport.