Online trolls launched a racist attack on a Swedish soccer player. His team had 2 words.

People can get pretty competitive with sports, and the World Cup is no exception.

Every four years, people from all over the world come together to watch nail-biting soccer matches. Some fans hope and pray their country's team advances to the next round for a chance at becoming World Cup champions. As a result, a lot of intense passion gets poured into every soccer game.

‌Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images‌.


With all that fervor for the game often comes criticism for players, coaches, and teams. But there's a clear line between critiquing a player and straight up abuse, and some fans don't hesitate in crossing over.

Unfortunately, Swedish midfielder Jimmy Durmaz was subject to some of that abuse.

On June 30, 2018, online trolls targeted Durmaz with racist abuse after his foul against a German soccer player ended up giving Germany the game-winning penalty kick.

‌Photo by Jonathan Nackstrand /AFP/Getty Images‌.

Soon after Sweden's upsetting loss, Durmaz — the Swedish son of Assyrian immigrants from Turkey — received an onslaught of racist epithets and name-calling. Some called the soccer player the "Arab devil," a "terrorist," and made references to suicide bombings. The trolls also went so far as to threaten his family and children.

But Durmaz refused to stay silent in the face of racism.

Durmaz said he understands that playing soccer professionally on an international stage comes with criticism. But what he finds completely unacceptable is the racially charged taunts toward him and the threats made against his family.

So, right before the Swedish team's training session on the next day, July 1, Durmaz stood alongside his coach, Janne Andersson, and his teammates and spoke up.

Photo by Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images.

"When someone threatens me, when they call me darkie, bloody Arab, terrorist, Taliban … then that limit has been passed," Durmaz said. "And what is even worse, when they go after my family and my children and threaten them … who the hell does that kind of thing?"

Durmaz then added:

“I am Swedish and I am proud to represent the Swedish national team – it is the biggest thing you can do as a footballer. I will never let any racists destroy my pride. We all have to make a stand against racism."

Photo by Pascal Pavani/AFP/Getty Images.

After Durmaz finished making his statement, the entire team and coaching staff said two words in unison: "Fuck racism."

Though the message is short, it's powerful.

While it's important to be patient when possible and use balanced arguments to dismantle racism, sometimes there are exceptions to that rule.

Recipients of abuse don't owe their abusers civility. And sometimes it's best to beat evil by calling it for what it is. By standing alongside Durmaz, his coach and teammates helped do just that.

They refused to allow the World Cup to be used as a vehicle for racism and injustice. Instead, they reminded us what it's really about: bringing people together and celebrating our global diversity.

Most importantly, they advocated for their teammate and used their platform as world-class athletes to stand up for victims of racist abuse not just on the soccer field, but all around the world.

You can watch Durmaz make his statement here:‌‌

Correction 7/10/2018: A previous version of this story indicated Durmaz was Muslim. It has been corrected to reflect only that he is the son of Assyrian immigrants from Turkey.

More
Photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash

Last month, the Chicago Public Library system became the largest in the country to eliminate late fees thanks to Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot.

While the move, which was implemented October 1, was intended to "remove unfair barriers to basic library access, especially for youth and low-income patrons," it had another positive outcome. Since the removal of overdue fees, along with the elimination of any outstanding charges on people's accounts, libraries across the city saw a surge in the return of overdue books over the last several weeks.

"The amount of books returned has increased by 240 percent…We're very, very happy to have that. … Those books have a value and cost money to buy. We want those assets back. We also want the patron to come back," Library Commissioner Andrea Telli said at a City Council budget hearing, the Chicago-Sun Times reports.

According to a press release from Lightfoot, late fees rarely have the impact they're intended to. "Research from other fine-free systems has indicated that fines do not increase return rates, and further that the cost of collecting and maintaining overdue fees often outweighs the revenue generated by them."

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

We all know that social media can be a cesspool of trolly negativity, but sometimes a story comes along that totally restores your faith in the whole thing. Enter the KFC proposal that started off being mocked and ended up with a swarm of support from individuals and companies who united to give the couple an experience to remember.

Facebook user Tae Spears shared the story with screenshots from Twitter, and the response has been overwhelming.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via Twitter / ESPN

Madison Square Garden in New York City is known for having hosted some legendary performances. George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh in '71, Billy Joel's 12 sellouts in '06, and Carmelo Anthony's 62 points in a 2014 victory against the Charlotte Bobcats, just to name a few.

But it's hard to imagine one person holding the legendary arena in the palm of their hand quite like Pete DuPré, better known as "Harmonica Pete," did on Veterans Day.

Keep Reading Show less
popular