We’ve always known that Italian soccer has a racism problem, but striker Romelu Lukaku’s arrival in Serie A seems to have encouraged soccer fans and observers in the country to step up and get extra racist. Lukaku first endured monkey chants from Cagliari fans, then his own dumbass fans wrote him a letter explaining that those monkey chants weren’t actually racist. Now, he’s inspired a doddering old pundit to get himself fired for trying to make a joke about Lukaku and bananas.
The 80-year-old pundit, Luciano Passirani, was asked to analyze Lukaku’s game during a studio show, and he had this to say (translation via the Guardian):
The show was debating Lukaku’s impact for Inter so far since joining Manchester United in the summer and Passirani said: “Lukaku is one of the best signings that Inter could have made. I don’t see another player like him on any other team in Italy. He is one of the strongest, I like him a lot because he has that strength: he is the twin of [Dúvan] Zapata at Atalanta.”
He then added: “They have something extra that the rest don’t have, and then they score the goals and drag your team forward. This guy kills you in the one-on-ones, if you try to challenge him you wind up on the floor. Either you have 10 bananas to eat, that you give to him, or …”
And here’s video of the incident. Even if you don’t know any Italian, you’ll still be able to sense the air rushing out of the room as soon as the old coot says “bananas.”
Later, the station’s director came on air to apologize for Passirani’s comments and tell viewers that he will no longer be featured on the show. Hopefully the director has learned that it’s never a great idea to put an 80-year-old guy on TV to talk about anything.