During the second half of Arsenal’s Europa League match versus Valencia, social media started to filter out news that the away fans were acting like massive knobs in their end, with the cherry on top being video of a handful of them making monkey noises and flashing Nazi salutes in the direction of Arsenal supporters (CW: Blatant racist dipshittery):
Outrage followed, thankfully, and many have been waiting to see what the club itself would say in response to their fans’ actions. But, as we’ve seen throughout the world of soccer lately, their statement that started out so good took a super weird turn at the end:
(translated) In relation to the images in the stands of Arsenal Stadium appearing on social networks, Valencia CF:
1. Publicly condemns bluntly and expresses its strongest repulsion and zero tolerance, as it has always done, towards the isolated gestures of people located in the visitor’s tier and who, evidently, do not represent the Valencian fans in any way.
2. In contact with its legal services, it is working on the identification of the responsible persons to proceed, in case of being subscribed to the club, to take the corresponding disciplinary measures, for which requests the collaboration of the rest of the fans located in said tier .
3. Although these attitudes are absolutely unjustifiable in any case, the VCF is trying to obtain information, in the same way, about possible provocations prior to said verbal and gestural confrontation between people from the local and visitor stands.
Yes, you read that right: Valencia, the club, is passively suggesting that their fans were provoked by Arsenal supporters in making racist gestures and noises. Think about that for a moment.
The issue isn’t the provocation, which Valencia is attempting to leverage their fans’ shitty and deeply anti-social behavior into believing that’s the true root cause of last night’s scenes. The issue is that racism is a belief that’s held on to very tightly with the individuals in the video above.
It’s as natural as eye blinking and breathing to these people, to revert to something they feel they can weaponize against people they deem below them. All it takes is a few choice words back and forth and wham! out come the monkey noises and Nazi salutes. What Valencia seems to think it’s the fault of others who expose inherently racist people and out their racist beliefs into the open for all to see, not the racists themselves.
What UEFA should do, which they won’t, is ban Valencia fans from matches both home and away. Following this poor statement from the club, it’ll be curious to see if Arsenal responds in kind.