Italian soccer star Paolo Di Canio has caused a stir by giving what looks like a fascist salute after scoring a goal against his team’s arch-rival, Roma. Di Canio plays for Lazio, a Roman team that Mussolini supported and that continues to have fascist and racist elements (called “ultras”) among its fans. In fact, a number of European countries have at least one important soccer team with a political orientation similar to Lazio. That’s Europe for you.
Di Canio is an interesting case. He has a long record of misconduct, most of which occurred when he played in England and Scotland. He once pushed a referee to the ground (although the referee probably should have given himself a yellow card for the way he embellished his fall). However, Everton fans have a soft spot for Di Canio (as we do for so many miscreants). In the final minutes of a match against West Ham, Di Canio had the goal at his mercy after the Everton goal keeper had suffered a horrible injury. Di Canio elected to kick the ball out play, thus denying West Ham the victory.
Fascist politics don’t seem to be present in the English game. A notable exception occurred about five years ago when Australian goal keeper Mark Bosnich gave a fascist salute to the Tottenham Hotspur crowd. Spurs is a London team with a huge Jewish following.
My view of that incident was that Bosnich should be free to make whatever political gesture he wants without punishment by the league. A fascist salute in Italy seems more problematic, and I imagine that such gestures are outlawed there.
Di Canio denies that his gesture was political, but the denial is hard to take seriously. He was a Lazio “ultra” as a kid and had good things to say about Mussolini in his autobiography, according to Soccernet.
Most Read on Power Line
- The Week in Pictures: Crimea River Edition
- More Proof That Liberals Are Humorless Losers
- Exclusive to Power Line: Koch Industries Responds to New York Times Smears
- Latest News on the Climate Change Collapse
- Rand Paul: Did an Old Prejudice Rear Its Head In His CPAC Speech?
- Poll contains good news and bad news for Democrats [With Comment on Hillary By John]
Subscribe to Power Line by Email
Find us on Facebook
“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
“Proclaim Liberty throughout All the land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” Inscription on the Liberty Bell