TUNIS - A spectator threw a banana at Brazilian forward Richarlison as he celebrated scoring a goal against Tunisia in front of Tunisian fans in their 5-1 win over the north African country.
Richarlison, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League later condemned the incident on Twitter and urged authorities to do more to tackle racist behaviour in the sport.
“As long as its 'blah blah blah' and they don't punish, it will continue like this, happening every day and everywhere. No time bro!” he tweeted after the game.
Brazil had lined up with an anti-racist banner before the kick-off that read “Without our black players, we wouldn't have stars on our shirts." They proceeded to beat Tunisia 5-1, whose only goal was scored by Montassar Talbi in the 18th minute.
Brazil’s captain Thiago Silva also denounced the incident.
“It's a shame, and it’s difficult to see such images,” he said as quoted by French outlet Le Parisien. “ I don’t know if the videos against racism that we had prepared were shown on the screens. But things like this keep happening… Unfortunately, we can’t change anything about people’s mentality. I hope that the public will be aware that this is not acceptable and that it belongs to the past. We have to change.”
Dozens of Tunisians have also condemned the racist abuse, taking to social media to express their views. A Tunisian Twitter user going by the name of Tykra said that "whoever threw the banana at Richarlison (if he is Tunisian) must have his nationality withdrawn immediately."
Journalist Tarek Ghdiri said the Tunisians were "were defeated in the field of morals, a defeat much worse than defeat on the field of football", calling the banana thrown at Richarlison as the "banana of shame."
This is just the latest instance of Brazilian players being targeted by racist abuse in recent weeks. Earlier this month, a high-profile Spanish agent told Vinicius Junior to “stop playing the monkey” on live television.
The game at the Parc des Princes in Paris was a warm-up for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, where Brazil are strong favourites to win the entire tournament.
Tunisia will open their campaign against Denmark on 22 November, while Brazil will face off against Serbia on 24 November.