An Italian commentator has been fired from a TV channel after making a racist remark about Romelu Lukaku – suggesting a player should give the striker “ten bananas” to distract the Belgian.
Luciano Passirani appeared as a guest on TopCalcio24 and was praising the Inter Milan striker, saying he is unlike any other player in Serie A.
But he said: “I don’t see in the Italian league a player like Lukaku in any team, not in AC Milan, Inter, Rome, Lazio.
“He’s one of the strongest and I like him a lot because he’s one of the strongest, he’s at least twice as strong as (Duvan) Zapata from Atalanta.
“These players have something more than the others, these are the guys who make the goals and drag the team.
“If they go one-on-one with you you’re dead, you fall to the ground. The only way to out-muscle him is to give him ten bananas to eat.”
According to The Sun UK, Passirani apologised soon after, insisting he was trying to make a joke and did not intend the comments to be racist.
The channel’s director Fabio Ravezzani came on air almost immediately to reiterate the apology.
And Ravezzani confirmed that Passirani would never appear on the network again.
He later tweeted: “Only a fraction of the transmission was spread widely, cutting off the guest’s subsequent apology that he had a moment of unpredictable confusion thinking of making a joke.
“But the gravity of the comment remains and requires equally serious measures.”