Iñaki Williams Subjected To Racial Abuse By Fans At RCDE Stadium
Iñaki Williams is very proud of his heritage. The son of African immigrants, Williams often refers to himself as “Black and Basque” and is one of the favorite favorites at San Mamés. Along with being just the second black player to ever wear the Zurigorri shirt, Williams is the first and only black player to ever score for Athletic.
Sadly, Williams’s heritage was under attack on Saturday as the striker left the field in the second half of Athletic’s draw against Espanyol. A group of Espanyol fans shouted racially abusive words and phrases at Williams who immediately informed Athletic captain Iker Muniain who then reported it to referee Sánchez Martínez. Curiously, the referee did not include the abuse in his postgame minutes.
At first Williams didn’t want to talk about the incident after the game but eventually spoke with Athletic TV where he denounced the disgusting abuse. “I’m sad because of the draw but above all because I suffered racist insults,” he said. “No black player or any player ever wants to hear that. It’s completely out of order. People should go to matches to enjoy themselves and support their teams. Football is a friendly sport and should be played in a friendly atmosphere. It’s a sad day because there’s no place for these incidents in football.”
Williams then took to social media after the game to condemn the abuse. “It’s a very sad day because we continue to see racism in football. We have to end it among EVERYONE. Thanks for your support.”
With the referee not including the racist abuse in his postgame notes it’s unclear whether or not La Liga will launch an official investigation. La Liga President Javier Tebas also took to social media saying, “Today we have taken a step back in the work we started years ago with the racist insults directed at Iñaki Williams. It does a lot of damage to Spanish football. La Liga assumes our responsibility and we will look with the clubs to find the error.”
One would hope that the league will take this situation seriously and seek out punishment for those involved. Espanyol have since issued a statement condemning the act and announced that they will be performing their own investigation. Racism has no place in football.
Es muy triste que a día de hoy sigamos viviendo escenas de racismo en el fútbol. Tenemos que acabar con ello entre TODOS. Gracias por vuestro apoyo. #NOalRacismo #SayNoToRacism ✋🏿✋🏼 pic.twitter.com/3UauFEXjH4
— IÑAKI WILLIAMS (@Williaaams45) January 25, 2020