Swiss Footballer Expelled For Racist Korean Tweet
As social networking comes under more intense scrutiny from fans, yet another athlete should have heeded the words of any PR pro in the business: keep your fingers off the keyboard, and keep your mouth shut.
LONDON, England -- Once again, Twitter has claimed another victim. Just three days into the London Olympics, Swiss footballer Michel Morganella has been expelled for a racist tweet directed at the South Korean football team after they defeated his squad 2-1 on Sunday.
The 23-year-old defender tweeted in French yesterday, “Je les tous Defonce Coréens, allez vous tous Bruler, bande de trisos," which translates in English to, "I want to beat up all South Koreans! Bunch of mentally handicapped retards!" He also said that South Koreans “can go burn” and referred to them as a “bunch of mongoloids.”
Swiss Olympic Team Chief Gian Gilli says Morganella will be stripped of his Olympic accreditation ahead of Switzerland's final group match against Mexico on Wednesday, according to ESPN.
When Will People Learn?
This comes on the tail of 23-year-old triple jumper Voula Papachristou who was dropped from the Greece national squad in London after last week's infamous tweet where she said, "With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food!!!"
You would think that people would learn to keep their thoughts to themselves on sensitive issues—especially in the age of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter where your words circle the globe in an instant.
Athletes are not the only ones prone to tweeting faux pas, as we saw earlier this year with the Jenny Hyun vs. Floyd Mayweather debacle over Jeremy Lin, when Hyun tweeted such gems as, "The only way black people are able to advance in any way is through white people."
Her family later claimed, "She is a paranoid schizophrenic and has been battling mental illness, a debilitating disease for many years. Friends and family of Jenny want to extend their sincere apology for any harmful statements made verbally or via the web that Jenny has made while she was in the height of a psychosis episode."
Korean actress Lee Chae-young also decided to throw herself in front of the tweet bus last month when, at a Denny's in the US, she photographed and posted a picture of two overweight patrons while commented that: "I went to grab a meal at the nearby Denny’s, but while waiting at the restaurant, I was met with a pink light of fear. They came out looking a lot skinnier in this photo. This is for real. Should I not eat and just leave?" Really?
As for Morganella, a world-class athlete who plays for the Italian side Palermo, he should know better. After being booed all match for an, ahem, "injury" after challenging Korean forward Park Chu-young, he let loose on Twitter and had a colossal meltdown. Granted, he only has 1,204 followers, but the damage has been done not only with the Swiss Football Federation, but the social networking world as well.
In the world of 24-hour-a-day access to all who dare to post their every thought, a word of advice is needed to athletes and celebrities: If you have nothing nice to say, seriously, shut up already. Delete your accounts, or your insincere apologies don't go away. Someone, somewhere, is watching.
To the Greek and Swiss Olympic Federations, I say bravo. It's time to end the racism that plagues sports, and your courage to take a stand against it should be applauded.
As for Morganella, I hope the four years of training and a lifetime dream of playing Olympic football for your country was worth your 12 word outburst. Good riddance.
Jeff Liebsch also writes about Korean soccer for TribalFootball.com.
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