A Serbia volleyball star has been banned for two matches and fined for making a racist gesture throughout a recreation in opposition to Thailand final week – and the nation’s federation has known as on the general public to not “blow this out of proportion”.
A petition was launched by outraged viewers after Sanja Djurdjevic was seen narrowing her eyes along with her fingers earlier than laughing at her gesture in a recreation in opposition to Italy final week, with some even claiming the footage was a mirrored image of a reported rise in hate incidents directed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders because the Covid-19 pandemic started.
Djurdjevic, who was stated to have apologized on her Instagram account earlier than setting it to personal, will now miss her nation’s matches in opposition to Belgium and Canada on account of what the Volleyball Federation of Serbia known as a “simple misunderstanding”.
The federation has been fined greater than $22,000 in a punishment that is anticipated to be used to fund a trigger “tackling discriminatory behaviour” and backing “educational programmes on cultural sensitivity”.
“Please don’t blow this out of proportion,” stated a federation submit on Facebook, apologizing to Thailand, the Thailand group and “all of you affected by this”.
“Sanja is aware of her mistake and she immediately apologized to the whole Thailand team. She only wanted to show her teammates ‘let’s start playing defense like them now’.
“She didn’t mean any disrespect. Of course, it was unlucky.”
There is zero place for this kind of behaviour in sport or in life. So it should be a zero tolerance policy. The answer is simple @volleyballworld the organisers should send the Serbia team home, removed from the tournament, so as it never happens again.
— Pasha (@Mr_ISC) June 3, 2021
Thailand superstar Pleumjit Thinkaow was described by some fans as an “angel” after posing with Djurdjevic in an Instagram video after the game, when the Serb player was said to have been upset about the incident.
Djurdjevic took off her mask and blew a kiss as part of the clip, which Thinkaow shared with her following of more than a million on the social media platform.
Angry viewers voiced their fury, with some revisiting a scandal in 2018 when the Serbian women’s team was accused of making racist eye gestures in a group photo after reaching that year’s FIVB Women’s World Championship in Japan.
“A Serbian participant does a racist gesture of ‘slant eye’ towards Thailand’s volleyball gamers within the FIVB [tournament],” said one, calling on bosses to take action.
“This conduct is disgusting and shouldn’t be condoned. This isn’t the primary time both.”
Another told Djurdjevic: “Your actions are usually not cute. You are a nationwide group athlete – why are you reacting to Asian folks like this?”