Appearing on Spanish television on Friday, Pedro Bravo – a prominent agent and president of the Spanish Agents Association – compared Vinicius Junior’s dancing celebrations after scoring a goal with monkey behaviour, arguing that the striker had no respect for his opponents and “should” stop playing monkey.
“When you score against an opponent, if you want to dance samba, you go to the sambadrome in Brazil, here what you have to do is respect your teammates and stop playing the monkey,” he said.
But in a video posted on social media by Vinicius Junior on September 16, the Brazil international drew criticism and said he would not stop dancing.
“This thought is always in my head. This is the attitude and philosophy I try to practice in my life. They say that happiness bothers me. The happiness of a successful black Brazilian in Europe annoys much more!”
“But my desire to win, my smile and the sparkle in my eyes is greater than all of this. You can’t even imagine. I was a victim of xenophobia and racism in one statement. But none of this started yesterday.”
The 22-year-old hired other players who also danced in celebration after scoring. And he added, “Weeks ago they started criminalizing my dances. The dances that are not mine. They belong to Ronaldinho, Neymar, (Lucas) Paqueta, (Antoine) Griezmann, Joao Felix, Matthews Kona … samba artists, reggaeton singers and black Americans.
“They are dances to celebrate the cultural diversity of the world. Accept it, respect it. I will not stop.
“The text always ends with an apology and ‘I was misunderstood,’ but I’ll repeat it to you, racist: I won’t stop dancing. Whether it’s at the Sambadrome or at the Bernabéu or wherever.”
In his apology on Twitter, Bravo said: “I want to make it clear that the phrase ‘monkey playing’ which I misused to describe the Vinicius goal celebration dance was used figuratively (“to play the fool”) because my intention was not to offend anyone, I sincerely apologize, I’m sorry “.
Neither the Federation of Spanish Agents nor Atresmedia, the broadcaster of the show where Bravo made his comments, immediately responded to CNN’s request for comment.
The agent’s comments came after Koke Resurrection warned Atletico Madrid’s Vinicius not to dance if he scored in the Madrid derby on Sunday.
“We live in a society in which we all participate,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said before the match. “We are human beings and this is the society we live in.”
“Our athletes (Vinicius Jr.) were the target of racist comments on Thursday night (15). The Brazilian Federation strengthens and stands in solidarity with #BailaViniJr.”
Vinicius Jr. explained that he was working to ensure that future generations were better educated about these matters.
“I come from a country where poverty is very prevalent, people have no access to education and, in many cases, there is no food on the table,” he said.
“On and off the field, I have developed an app to help educate children in public schools without financial assistance from anyone. I am building a school in my name. I will do a lot for education. I want future generations to be ready, like me, to fight against racists and xenophobia.”
“I always try to be a professional and a perfect citizen. But that doesn’t get ‘clicks’, it doesn’t go online, and it doesn’t motivate cowards to talk aggressively about people they don’t even know.”