The opening ceremony for the grand event of London Olympics is still a few days away, but news of racial slurs resulting in disqualification of athletes has already started making headlines. Recently, Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou has been expelled from the Greek Olympic Team for a racist comment which she made via a tweet.
Image From: Facebook
The offensive tweet after it was translated by website Keep Talking Greece said: “With so many Africans in Greece… At least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade food!!!” the comment naturally drew huge criticism from other users of the social networking site.
One responded saying: ‘If you are serious, the Greek Olympic Team should put you on the first plane and send you back.’ Another wrote: ‘Xenophobic comments from a Greek athlete in the Olympic mission are unacceptable. We are ashamed.’
Realizing the outrage her single tweet created Voula quickly tweeted an apology.
The apology said: “I would like to express my heartfelt apologies for the unfortunate and tasteless joke I published on my personal Twitter account. I am very sorry and ashamed for the negative responses I triggered, since I never wanted to offend anyone, or to encroach human rights. My dream is connected to the Olympic Games and I could not possibly participate if I did not respect their values. Therefore, I could never believe in discrimination between human beings and races. I would like to apologize to all my friends and fellow athletes, who I may have insulted or shamed, the National Team, as well as the people and companies who support my athletic career. Finally, I would like to apologize to my coach and my family.”
Image From: Twitter
However, his apology did not made much of a difference after the Greek Olympic Committee released a statement confirming the expulsion of the track and field athlete. The committee stated that Voula has been "placed outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement." Even though there are few chances of any consideration over the decision of her banishment, it is important to mention that the punishment is too exaggerated. For any event taking place in Europe these racial slurs are something extremely common.
We don’t need to go back. Just take the Euro 2012 Championship, an event that was overshadowed by racism in every possible way. Players like Ashley Young, Ashley Cole and Mario Balotelli were the prime victims of racism on social networking sites like Twitter. Why not conduct an investigation and catch people who initiated this in the first place rather than simply targeting an athlete. Moreover, if the values of Olympic are all about tolerance, then doesn’t letting her compete in the event make more sense?
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