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Juve’s Bonucci condemns racism following widespread criticism

Juventus v BSC Young Boys - UEFA Champions League Group H

TURIN, ITALY - OCTOBER 02: Paulo Dybala (R) of Juventus FC celebrates the victory with his team-mates Leonardo Bonucci (C) and Moise Kean (L) at the end of the Group H match of the UEFA Champions League between Juventus and BSC Young Boys at Allianz Stadium on October 2, 2018 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

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Leonardo Bonucci has been widely criticized by the media and his peers for his post-match reaction to the racial abuse hurled at Juventus teammate Moise Kean on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old Kean had been booed and heard monkey noises chanted at him during Juve’s 2-0 win over Cagliari, including a number of jeers after he scored the second goal and spread his arms wide to the crowd.

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Bonucci claimed the blame was “50-50" between Kean and the fans, saying the player provoked the angry reactions. Most of the world said that racism is never okay, even if provoked, and Bonucci now claims he was misunderstood after the heat of a 90-minute match.

A senior leader on the team, Bonucci’s needed 24 hours to back his teammate on Instagram.

“After 24 hours I want to clarify my feelings. Yesterday I was interviewed right at the end of the game, and my words have been clearly misunderstood, probably because I was too hasty in the way I expressed my thoughts. Hours and years wouldn’t be enough to talk about this topic. I firmly condemn all forms of racism and discrimination. The abuses are not acceptable at all and this must not be misunderstood.”

There’s something to the “I wasn’t thinking straight” and Bonucci did not have a catalog of bad actions prior to his “50-50" comments, so his straight-up condemnation of racism is a good start (though an “I’m sorry” would’ve been nice).

Follow @NicholasMendola