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May 4, 2014

Papakouli Diop dances to defy racism

Levante midfielder Papakouli Diop did a brief dance after appearing to be subjected to monkey gestures from a section of Atletico Madrid fans during Sunday's match.

Pape Diop was surrounded by Atletico players who thought he was gloating over the win.
Papakouli Diop danced after claiming he was racially abused by Atletico fans.

The incident marks the second week running that a racism row has erupted in Spain after Barcelona's Dani Alves took a bite out of a banana thrown at him from the crowd on April 27.

Diop, a Senegal international, said he was verbally abused throughout the game and decided to dance like a monkey in front of his alleged abusers immediately after the final whistle. Levante stunned title hopefuls Atletico 2-0.

"They called me monkey and I turned and imitated a monkey," Diop said, according to Marca. "I'm tired of racism in football. And there's a lot."

"I did the monkey dance to highlight the matter. I wanted people to know what happened.

"I do not know if it's racist or disrespectful, but they have to stop the monkey noises made by some people."

Alves won widespread praise from fellow players and FIFA president Sepp Blatter for his actions in a match at Villarreal last week. By eating the banana, Alves tried to make his abuser's taunt a rallying cry against racism, and Diop said his dance was done in a similar vein.

"The incident affected me a lot. I went to take a corner and part of the Atletico fans began to make 'monkey noises,' Diop added in AS. "To take the sting out of it I began to dance, but I did not insult anyone."

"I have nothing against the Atletico fans, because it was only one part of them who shouted at me. It seems to me a lack of respect that this happens in all grounds. It is a provocation. I do not know if you can call it racism, but the 'monkey noises' must be ended now."

Alves' actions started a social media campaign of players sharing photos of themselves eating bananas, and Barcelona officials have called to eliminate racism in Spanish football.

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