Everyone knew that the once the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship began, the floodgates would open and black players would be subjected to some of the most vile, despicable taunts ever.
Seriously, that's not an exaggeration – everyone knew.
Players spoke about it this week. UEFA president, Michel Platini, offered his relatively useless two cents on the matter. Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) made it clear that it was going to do whatever it could to help.
But again – everyone just knew that this was going to be a huge problem once the tournament began.
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Well, everyone was wrong. The floodgates opened a day before Euro 2012 could even get under way.
According to the Guardian, black players from the Holland squad were on the wrong end of monkey chants during a recent open practice session at the Stadion Miejski in Poland. As players like Nigel de Jong and Gregory van der Wiel began jogging around the pitch for what should have been fairly standard warm-ups, “several hundred” of the some 25,000 people in attendance began chanting deregotory statements and making monkey noises. After two laps, the players were forced to move their practice to a different location, away from the spectators.
"It is a real disgrace especially after getting back from Auschwitz [the Dutch squad had visited the concentration camp on Wednesday] that you are confronted with this," team captain Mark van Bommel said afterward. "We will take it up with UEFA and if it happens at a match we will talk to the referee and ask him to take us off the field."
When UEFA heard about what transpired at the practice, the powers that be responded in the most UEFA-esque way imaginable. They said that they had double-checked with parties that had been in attendance, and that there in fact weren’t any racist chants going on. They insisted that the jeers were actually related to the fact that, as noted by the Guardian: “Krakow had not been made one of the host cities.”
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Van Bommel answered that ludicrous defense better than anyone else possibly could have.
"You need to open your ears," he said. "If you did hear it, and don't want to hear it, that is even worse."
Stay tuned, it's only going to get uglier from here.