Italian ’paper admits its mistake in publishing cartoon depicting Mario Balotelli as King Kong
THERE is considerable disquiet in the Mario Balotelli camp over a cartoon in the distinguished Milan sports daily, Gazzetta dello Sport, that depicts the Italian striker as King Kong climbing Big Ben.
The cartoon, printed on Sunday, was meant to highlight how Balotelli would scale an English landmark, and play an influential role in Italy’s Euro 2012 quarter-final win over Roy Hodgson’s team but has not been well received.
“Mario’s such an important person in Italian football,’’ said a spokesman for the diversity organisation Kick It Out.
“Aspiring players in Italy who want to follow in his footsteps could wonder what support they will have when they get to his level when they see cartoons like that. It is not the first time we have seen this sort of depiction of Mario and we think the media have a responsibility. How do they think they can portray him like that?’’
Gazzetta acknowledged its mistake, saying: “It wasn’t our cartoonist’s best product. In these times we need a bit more moderation, caution and good taste. But we have always fought against racism and condemned booing against Balotelli as unacceptable.”