“[The banners were] by their content provocatively insulting to the mother of a supporter of the opposing team, who died in dramatic circumstances.“
Sigh. If the series of words you just read seems ridiculous, that’s because everything about that sentence is ridiculous — wholly and utterly ridiculous.
Yet everything in that sentence actually happened. In real life. In fact, a Serie A disciplinary committee actually wrote those words because Roma fans, clearly eager to class up the ambiance during the weekend’s Roma-Napoli match, displayed banners insulting the mother of a Napoli fan who died last year.
Napoli fan Ciro Esposito passed away last year after being shot by a 48-year-old former Roma ultra prior to the Coppa Italia final between Napoli and Fiorentina. Esposito’s mother became a visible figure during her son’s battle to stay alive, and since his passing has been very vocal about fighting violence in the game. Thus the banner above, which reads: “How sad. You make money off the funeral from books and interviews.”
Always appropriate for a soccer game.
Roma president James Pallotta issued the following statement:
“As has been expressed repeatedly, most recently in the week leading up to the match against Napoli, AS Roma considers any events that lead to the loss of life at a football match, as occurred in the cases of Ciro Esposito, Antonio De Falchi, Gabriele Sandri, Vincenzo Spagnolo, Filippo Raciti, Vincenzo Paparelli and others, to be a defeat for civil society as a whole, regardless of affiliations to clubs or fan groups. The enormous pain that follows such events deserves maximum, unconditional respect from all and necessitates that all parties – fans, clubs and law enforcement agencies – strive to ensure that such pain is not renewed, not even verbally, in the stands of a stadium.”
The Serie A tribunal concluded that Roma will have to shut down a part of its home stadium, Stadio Olimpico, during the club’s next home game, which is April 19 against Atalanta.
Not all soccer fans are like this, but I’m pretty sure that the worst soccer fans are worse than any other sports’ worst fans.