This happened at the U20 World Cup a few days ago:
You saw that right.
Uruguayan midfielder and Real Madrid Castilla prospect Federico Valverde gave the Korean crowds in Daejeon who paid money to watch him play the good ol’ Asian eyes treatment.
Though he insists that it was a “tribute” to his agent, nicknamed “El Chino” (the Chinese), there’s no denying it was a culturally insensitive and plainly racist thing to do. The Uruguayan FA is rushing to his defense, saying that he’s done this celebration before, which honestly just makes it all the more unacceptable, while others are saying “he’s a Latino American, he doesn’t know better”, which serves merely as an enabler of casual racism. Keep it on your streets — don’t bring it on the international stage, where it is the ultimate form of disrespect to the host country and host fans.
My hot take: on this matter, there can be no excuses. No artistic interpretations, no cultural appropriations, no bullshit. This is racism in its simplest form. The player and the Uruguayan FA must be punished. (Though I cannot find the picture right now, multiple players in the dressing room snapped a team photo replicating Valverde’s stupid celebration.)
FIFA often talks the talk when it comes to racism and discrimination in the football stadium, and yet they are the very incarnation of a basket of contradictions. They claim that English and Scottish players wearing a poppy sticker on Remembrance Sunday is too political, and yet they turn a blind eye to the Japanese Imperial war flag brandished in stadiums across the world. The poppy, they say, brings politics into football, but they sit on their hands and refuse to liken the banned Swastika to the Imperial battle flag brandished by Japanese armies during their harrowing occupation of Manchuria and Korea.
But this isn’t murky politics. This is racist, clear as day. FIFA says they do not tolerate Russian fans making monkey noises at black-skinned players. Then don’t tolerate an Uruguayan player making Asian eyes in Daejeon. Walk the walk, FIFA. It’s your move.