Sports

Greece Bans Voula Papachristou from 2012 Olympics over African Joke

| by Alex Groberman

Voula Papachristou was kicked off Greece's Olympic team on Wednesday for making a racist, derogatory comment on her Twitter account.

Why did her insensitive tweet bring about such a harsh punishment? Well, according to the Times Union, because she made " statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement."

Papachristou, an unapologetic supporter Greece’s extreme right Golden Dawn party, posted this controversial message last Sunday:

"With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food!!!"

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As you would expect, the joke was met with something of a negative reaction.That plus her affiliation with Golden Dawn (a party which rose to international infamy a few weeks ago when spokesperson Ilias Kasidiaris smacked a communist woman in the face) ultimately forced Greece to seriously reconsider her position on their national Olympic team.

After initially responding to the criticism on Tuesday by simply brushing it off, Papachristou offered a lengthy apology on Wednesday. See if you can tell the difference in tone between the two reactions.

Tuesday:

"That's how I am. I laugh. I am not a CD to get stuck!!! And if I make mistakes, I don't press the replay! I press Play and move on!!!"

Wednesday:

"I would like to express my heartfelt apologies for the unfortunate and tasteless joke I published on my personal Twitter account. I am very sorry and ashamed for the negative responses I triggered, since I never wanted to offend anyone, or to encroach human rights.

"My dream is connected to the Olympic Games and I could not possibly participate if I did not respect their values. Therefore, I could never believe in discrimination between human beings and races. I would like to apologize to all my friends and fellow athletes, who I may have insulted or shamed, the National Team, as well as the people and companies who support my athletic career. Finally, I would like to apologize to my coach and my family."

In response to what happened, one of three parties in Greece’s coalition government published this statement:

"Let her make any miserable 'jokes' on social media while watching the games on TV. She definitely cannot represent Greece in London." the Democratic Left statement said.

Papachristou has not yet responded to her dismissal.

(Kudos Times Union, Deadspin)

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