National / Social Issues

Urawa Reds back in spotlight after racist tweet targets Caio

by Daisuke Kikuchi

Staff Writer

A racist tweet posted by someone who appears to be a supporter of the Urawa Reds created a stir over the weekend, prompting the J. League soccer team to issue an apology.

“Drop dead Caio, you black man,” a tweet by @urawatsubasa said, referring to Brazilian player Caio of the Kashima Antlers. The tweet was posted after the Antlers beat the Reds on Saturday but has since been deleted.

“I felt sad, and I never thought that this would ever happen to me. It was even more striking to know that my father was crying at home,” Caio told reporters Sunday, saying he learned about it from his girlfriend and that his father was visiting him in Japan at the time.

On Saturday, Caio tweeted in Japanese through the club’s translator: “I am black and I’m proud of my myself. May God forgive this person, and I would like the person to cherish his/her own life, for I’m proud that I’m black.”

The midfielder said he wanted to explain that thoughtless messages on the internet can hurt others, but added that the Twitter user need not be punished because he or she will eventually understand that it was the wrong thing to do.

On Sunday, the Urawa Reds posted an apology on the team’s official website that called the Twitter post “regrettable” and stated that it would not tolerate discrimination.

The Reds said Monday that the team had arranged to meet with the anonymous Twitter user on Sunday but that the person failed to show up and refused to take all phone calls afterward.

The J. League announced that the team would not be disciplined over the apparent fan incident because the person suspected did it outside of the stadium.

This is not the first time Urawa Reds supporters have been accused of making racist comments.

In December, a private high school in Urawa, Saitama Prefecture, apologized after one of its students posted a racist tweet that said, “Drop dead, black man,” directed at Gamba Osaka’s Brazilian striker Patric.

According to the Urawa Reds, the person behind the latest tweet posted it while watching the match at home.

In 2014, Reds fans hung a banner saying “Japanese only” in English over an entrance to the stands at a match against Sagan Tosu at Saitama Stadium.

The J. League ordered the team to play its next match in an empty stadium behind closed doors. The team has since prohibited fans from hanging banners in the stadium.

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