Mike Maignan, the goalkeeper for AC Milan, left the field during a Serie A game at Udinese and declared that “something must be done” concerning racist abuse in sports.
The 28-year-old international for France left the pitch with his teammates on Saturday during the first half, ostensibly telling referee Fabio Maresca that he had heard the taunts from the Stadio Friuli crowd.
Maignan told Milan TV: “I heard them making monkey noises.
“After it happened a second time, I went to the dugout to inform them of what had happened behind the goal.
“This shouldn’t exist in the world of football but unfortunately for many years this is a recurrence.
“We all have to react, we must do something because you can’t play like this.”
He continued: “We accept the boos because that’s how it is away from home but this issue of racism must not reach this level.
“With all the cameras present and sanctions for these things, something must be done to change things.”
Once play resumed after a short break, Milan won 3-2 with substitute Noah Okafor grabbing the winner in added time.
Following the game, Maignan was praised on social media by Milan, who wrote on X, a platform that was originally Twitter, saying, “We are appalled that racism has any place in our game.” Mike, you have our support.”
Leaders of Serie A Inter responded to the tweet promptly, endorsing their local rivals.
“We are brothers of the world, against all forms of discrimination,” the Nerazzurri said on X. by your side.
The official account of the league, @SerieA, added: “The league condemns all forms of racism.”
France striker Kylian Mbappe said “enough is enough” as he posted a message of support to Maignan on X.
He said: “You are very far from being alone Mike Maignan. We are all with you.
“Still the same problems and still NO solution. Enough is enough. NO TO RACISM.”
Former England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright applauded the “solidarity” in the Milan side and urged teams to “keep walking off” when they hear abuse and called for stronger sanctions.
He wrote on X: “We did ‘playing through it’ and nothing has changed. Points deductions needed, the fines are pointless.”