Brazilian Soccer Player Dani Alves Turns Stunt Against Racist Fan, Eats Thrown Banana Instead, Humour Always the Best Revenge

By Esther Tanquintic-Misa
April 30, 2014 11:48 AM EST

Brazilian Soccer Player Dani Alves Turns Stunt Against Racist Fan, Eats Thrown Banana Instead, Humour Always the Best Revenge

If you can't beat them, join them. This cliché definitely proved true for Brazilian soccer player Dani Alves who instead of lunging at a racist Spanish fan for throwing him a banana, just picked it up and ate it instead. He didn't raise his voice and he uttered no single invective against the person. He immediately won the support of the global sports industry.

"I was just trying to use a positive attitude to counter a negative racist attitude," Alves told Brazil's Radio Globo.

Domingos Alves, player's father who happens to be a farmworker, said he will plant bananas to show support to his son.

"I plant mangos, coconuts, melons, watermelons, passion fruit -- and now I'm going to plant bananas," AFP quoted the older Alves told Globo's G1 news portal from his home in the northern state of Bahia.

Lucia Ribeiro, Alves' mother, said her son's reaction to the racist fan was "a slap in the face for prejudice."

"My father always told me to eat bananas to avoid getting cramp," Alves joked on Twitter.

"You have to take it like that, with humour," the Irish Times quoted the Brazilian soccer player. "We're not going to change this easily. I've spent 11 years suffering this in Spain and you've just got to laugh at those morons."

The incident happened on Sunday during a match at Villarreal, Spain.  Alves was about to take a corner when a home fan threw a small banana onto the pitch near him in a racist taunt. Mr Alves calmly picked it up, peeled and then ate it in one go. He was shown taking the corner still munching the fruit in his mouth.

However, Alves did describe Spain has a "backward" mentality in its fight against racism.

"We have suffered this in Spain for some time," the 30-year-old Brazilian international player said. "If you don't give it importance, they don't achieve their objective."

Alves's cool reaction against the racist taunt won him the hearts of many people, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

"The player Dani Alves gave a daring and strong response to racism in sports," Ms Rousseff said in a series of Twitter messages. She lamented though that racism had become "unfortunately common."

The Sunday rival Villarreal has released a statement expressing "absolute rejection of any act" of "violence, discrimination, racism and xenophobia."

"The club has already identified the author and has decided to withdraw his season tickets, permanently banning his access to El Madrigal."

Watch the racist banana throwing and eating here.

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