Luciano Passirani said Romelu Lukaku could only be stopped if you gave him bananas.

There’s a long and disturbing history of racist remarks and taunts in European soccer, and those have often shown up in Italy. In April, Juventus forward Moise Kean took racist abuse from Cagliari fans, and earlier this month, Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku faced monkey chants from fans. And the problematic comments about Lukaku continued Sunday, as Luciano Passirani, a guest commentator on a Telelombardia (a Milan-based local network) program, brought up racist imagery by saying Lukaku could only be stopped if you give him bananas. Here’s the quote in Italian from

Passirani commentando l’arrivo dell’attaccante belga in nerazzurro ha affermato: “Lukaku è uno degli acquisti migliori che potesse fare l’Inter. Non vedo in Italia un giocatore come lui in nessuna altra squadra.”

“E’ uno dei più forti, a me piace tantissimo perché ha forza: è il sosia di Zapata dell’Atalanta. Hanno qualcosa in più degli altri e poi i gol li fa e ti trascina la squadra. Questo nell’uno contro uno ti uccide: se gli vai contro cadi per terra, o hai dieci banane per mangiare che gliele dai, altrimenti…”

Here’s Google Translate’s version:

Passirani commenting on the arrival of the Belgian striker in the Nerazzurri said: “Lukaku is one of the best signings that Inter could make. I don’t see a player like him in any other team in Italy.

“He is one of the strongest, I really like him because he has strength: he is the double of Zapata dell’Atalanta. They have something more than the others and then the goals make them and they drag the team. This kills one in one: if you go against them you fall to the ground, or you have ten bananas to eat that you give them, otherwise … “

And the clip, and a similar translation (upon correction) from Nima Tavallaey Roodsari on Twitter:

As Roodsari notes, Ravezzani did apologize for the comments and say Passirani would not be invited on again. Here’s his tweet:

And a translated version:

Ravezzani on Twitter then announced: “An unworthy image evoked by a senior columnist today at Qsvs was immediately stigmatized live by Alfio Musmarra. The protagonist didn’t even realize what he was saying and immediately apologized. Despite this will no longer be invited to our broadcasts “.

So it sounds like this has already led to some consequences. But “didn’t even realize what he was saying” is weak, given the centuries of widespread usage of racist monkey analogies and given the recent focus on racist commentary about Lukaku. Any sports commentator should have realized this was a reference to avoid.

[, Nima Tavallaey Roodsari on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.