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Italy manager apologizes for Balotelli race “joke”

Jun 21, 2013, 8:27 PM EDT

Italy Training And Press Conference Getty Images

Cesare Prandelli’s unfortunate sense of humor got the better of him earlier today, and he’s come clean about it.

Amid the increasingly unsafe environment in Brazil, the players were barred from leaving the hotel by security advisers Friday as Italy prepared for its match against Brazil the following day.

Prandelli made a “joke” (feel free to throw air quotes around that one) that striker Mario Balotelli was the only one allowed to leave the hotel because his “color is different to ours.”

The real reason Balotelli was permitted to exit the premises was that he was involved in children’s charity work in the poorest areas of the Brazilian city of Salvador.

Prandelli later apologized for his comments, saying they were made in jest and that Balotelli left for a good cause. “I’m sorry. It was a joke. Of course.”

Prandelli continued to commend the work his star striker was doing. “Before I said something about the colour of our skin, I am glad we clarified that issue about why he was the only one allowed out” said Prandelli. “He was surrounded by all these people but he was working with a charity and doing something nice.”

  1. capsfan19 - Jun 22, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Eh not a big deal. Its a shame because of the recent racial roadbumps in soccer this will be made out to be a huge row.
    But really… Its kind of funny.

  2. detroitcityy - Jun 22, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    I agree no harm was done it was a joke l..the media just likes to jump all over it

  3. finsfan4life - Jun 22, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Are you out of your f***g minds? No harm done? Really??
    Go ahead and tell me how many black players have played for Italy’s National Team. Have you watch any international soccer the past 2 years. He was always alone during the Euro Cup even though he was scoring almost every game and his teammates made sure he knew what’s up because no one seemed to interact with him once the game is over or if he was seating on the bench. Fast forward now with these comments and you’re telling me that it was a joke?
    Y’all are on crack for real

    • wesbadia - Jun 24, 2013 at 8:20 AM

      During the time it took you to write your rant, did you ever stop and think that maybe Balotelli’s treatment during that time was due to his attitude and personality and not because of his skin color? I don’t think it’s any secret that Mr. Balotelli hasn’t made many friends along the way in his career, regardless of how good of a player he’s been at times.

      So yes, really. No harm done. Pointing out ones skin color means nothing more than describing a trait about them, similar to a big nose, toothy grin, curly hair, or any other describable feature. Get over it.

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