Serbian volleyball player suspended after being caught on camera making racist gesture during match against Thailand
- Sanja Djurdjevic was banned for two games after being caught on camera
- She squeezed her eyes together with her fingers during the June 1 match against Thailand
- She immediately apologized to the Thai team, according to her Instagram post
- Serbia Volleyball Federation asked fans not to ‘blow this up out of proportion’
- The whole Serbian team was seen on camera in May 2017 making the same gesture
A Serbian volleyball player has been suspended after being caught on camera making a racist gesture during a match against Thailand.
Sanja Djurdjevic was suspended for two games after a screenshot of her squinting with her fingers during the match on June 1, was posted online, leading to a backlash.
She was also fined £15,800 (CHF 20,000) which, according to the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), would be donated to an anti-discrimination charity or educational program on cultural sensitivity.
Serbian volleyball star Sanja Djurdjevic has been suspended after she was caught on camera squeezing her eyes with her fingers during a match against Thailand on June 1.
The Serbian volleyball star was suspended for two games and ordered to pay a fine of £15,000 after she was found to have broken disciplinary rules
Djurdjevic has apologized for the gesture, writing on Instagram: “I am aware of my mistake and immediately after the game, I apologized to the entire Thailand team.
“I just wanted to address my teammates with the message ‘Now we’re going to defend like them’, I didn’t want to disrespect anyone,” she added on her page, which has since been deactivated.
Serbia’s volleyball federation also apologized for the incident, calling it a “simple misunderstanding” and asking… fans not to “blow this up out of proportion” in a statement.
“Sanja is aware of her mistake and she immediately apologized to the entire team in Thailand,” it read.
“She didn’t mean it disrespectfully. Of course it was a shame. It all ended as a simple misunderstanding, in a friendly atmosphere between the two teams’ players.
But one petition An appeal to the federation to “do their job and discipline their players” had gathered more than 5,200 signatures online Thursday morning.
It argued that Djurdjevic should receive a harsher sentence for the racist gesture, saying that “an apology is the bare minimum as a human being.”
“Djurdjevic and the National Volleyball Team represent their country in an official sport with official FIVB rules and those rules must be followed to maintain credibility and set the standard for the world…
“When athletes and teams violate the most basic ethic of respect, governing bodies must lead by example to protect the disrespected and marginalized in order to maintain their standards and integrity,” it added.
In May 2017, the Serbian volleyball team landed in hot water after celebrating securing a place at the World Championship in Japan by posing for a photo with the same racist gesture
In May 2017, the Serbian volleyball team celebrated winning the European qualifier for the FIVB World Championships by posing for a team photo with the same racist gesture.
Players put their fingers in front of their eyes and appeared to mimic a Japanese after beating Poland to take the place in the league.
The photo on the pitch was posted on the qualifying tournament website before being hastily removed.
It’s not the first time athletes have made the bad taste gestures.
In 2017, Argentine footballer Ezequiel Lavezzi was forced to apologize after a photo of him making a face to mimic the Chinese went viral on social media.
And in 2008, the Spanish basketball team published an ad in which the players of both the men’s and women’s teams use their fingers to make their eyes look more Chinese like a basketball court decorated with a Chinese dragon.
In 2008, the Spanish basketball team published an ad in which players use their fingers to make their eyes look more Chinese on a basketball court
Both the men’s and women’s teams participated in the advertising campaign and were depicted on a court decorated with a Chinese dragon