We recently told you about the racial insult involving Brazilian footballer Dani Alves. During a match in Spain, someone threw a banana onto the pitch in front of Alves. The implication was that the darker-skinned Alves was a monkey.
In an act of defiance, Alves picked up the banana, broke off a piece, and ate it. Fans cheered, sports commentators played the footage of the incident over and over.
In the wake of the incident, the person who threw the banana was banned from the arena for life. But Alves said he thought that wasn't enough. He felt that the man should be shamed publicly. Alves even launched a hashtag campaign that resulted in hundreds of people posting pictures of themselves eating bananas, presumably in solidarity with Alves.
Well, it looks like this thing is going to the next level.
Police have now confirmed that they have arrested one David Campayo Lleo, age 26, who actually worked for the Villareal team Alves was playing against when the incident occurred.
The charges against Campayo Lleo are related to racist provocation. If found guilty, he could face up to one to three years in prison.
The idea that someone could be arrested and imprisoned for speech sounds bizarre to people in the United States.
Recently, Americans watched with puzzled curiosity as American singer Bob Dylan narrowly avoided hate speech charges in France over something he said in a Rolling Stone magazine interview there. This was not something that would happen in the U.S., where free speech is the rule.
Another example is the Donald Sterling incident recently. Sterling was banned from the NBA for life as a result of his personal racist comments. He may face fines and consequences from the organization he works with. But all that is a civil matter, much of it in-house. Sterling could never be arrested for saying he did not like black people.
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