A Twitter user who directed racially abusive messages Saturday at Gamba Osaka’s black Brazilian striker Patric claims to be a supporter of Urawa Reds, according to the poster’s profile on the social networking service.
The messages were posted following Gamba’s 3-1 away win in the J. League Championship semifinal against Urawa in which the 28-year-old scored the third goal in extra time to secure a place in the two-legged final against Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
Gamba condemned the tweets on the club’s official website, while the J. League said it would “continue working to stamp out racism.”
“It is extremely regrettable that this kind of thing is happening at a time when Gamba Osaka is trying to educate human rights issues on a daily basis,” said Gamba’s statement.
“Gamba Osaka will not under any circumstances tolerate racist behavior.”
Patric, who joined Gamba last summer and played a pivotal role in helping the club in 2014 win a domestic treble in its first season back in the top flight, described the posts in a tweet as “disappointing” and “cruel.”
“They were really disappointing and cruel, racially abusive posts. Anyone would be hurt by these,” he tweeted.
“I’m really proud to be black. My son is black and we are really happy. Only God knows how sad I am with this case.
“This is the first time I’ve faced racial discrimination and I never dreamt of being on the receiving end in this country. I really like and respect this country. For me this is the most well-mannered and cultured country in the world.
“I hope the matter will be properly dealt with. To the person who has posted this, you should not do these things as a human being.”
The J. League came down hard on Urawa for what it deemed racist fan behavior in March last year, ordering the former Asian champions to play a home match against Shimizu S-Pulse behind closed doors as punishment.
Playing at home against Sagan Tosu on March 8, 2014, Reds allowed a banner that read, “Japanese Only” to be displayed at Saitama Stadium and did not remove it until after the game.
Reds identified and indefinitely banned the fans responsible from all their games.
That was not the first time Urawa — Japan’s best-supported club last season, with an average attendance of over 35,000 — had been sanctioned for racist behavior by supporters.
The club was fined ¥5 million and censured in 2010 after fans taunted foreign players of Vegalta Sendai.
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