Napoli players take a knee in public show of support after alleged racial abuse of Juan Jesus

Napoli team players take the knee ahead of the Serie A soccer match between Napoli and Atalanta at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples, Italy, Saturday, March 30, 2024. Napoli defender Juan Jesus says he has been left feeling “very bitter” and “crestfallen” by the Italian league’s decision not to punish Inter Milan player Francesco Acerbi for an allegedly racist remark toward him. (Alessandro Garofalo/LaPresse via AP)

Napoli team players take the knee ahead of the Serie A soccer match between Napoli and Atalanta at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples, Italy, Saturday, March 30, 2024. Napoli defender Juan Jesus says he has been left feeling “very bitter” and “crestfallen” by the Italian league’s decision not to punish Inter Milan player Francesco Acerbi for an allegedly racist remark toward him. (Alessandro Garofalo/LaPresse via AP)

ROME (AP) — Napoli’s players took a knee before their Serie A game against Atalanta on Saturday in a public show of support for teammate Juan Jesus.

It came after a sports judge ruled that Inter Milan defender Francesco Acerbi will not face sanctions for allegedly racially abusing Jesus, who is Black, in a Serie A match because there wasn’t enough proof.

The alleged incident on March 17 was revealed when Jesus told the referee that Acerbi directed a racial slur at him. Acerbi has repeatedly denied he used the offensive word.

An Italian league sporting judge said this week that, while it was clear Acerbi had insulted Jesus, the “minimum level of reasonable certainty” had not been reached that it was of a racial nature.

Napoli called the decision “astonishing.”

Atalanta won Saturday’s game 3-0.

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