- During the match, Martins Equim heard the crowd shouting in his direction: “Negro”, “Negro” and “S******** J to Africa”.
- – You can hear everything on the field. I once asked them, “People, what are you even doing?” Then they started yelling at me more – says Onet Martins Ekwueme, who in his career twice celebrated the Polish championship with Wisła Kraków. For six years he obtained Polish citizenship
- Martins has a grudge against the referee for not controlling events on the field
- KS Legnickie Pole, the club where Martins currently plays, has decided to publicize
- The club president from Legnickie Pole stresses that you can’t ignore racist behavior and pretend it doesn’t exist. “As long as we accept this, we will not respond to such behavior, and we will remain a backward country,” he wrote in a special statement.
- You can read more of these stories on the Onet homepage
Watching the Saturday match in Legnica district between Czarni Rocketki and KS Legnica Bowl live by a handful of fans.
The team’s guests, Martins Ekwueme, a two-time Polish champion with Wisła Kraków, hear shouts from the stands: “Negro”, “Czarnuch” and “Bambus” practically from the start of the match. He is the only black soccer player on the field. She responds when someone calls her “**** for Africa.”
– You can hear everything on the field. I once asked them, “People, what are you even doing?” Then they started screaming at me more – said Martins Ekwem to Onet.
Then, from the judge, Martins hears: “Don’t talk, just play. This is not the Premier League.” – I said to the judge: “But do you hear what’s going on? Don’t tell me you don’t know what’s going on?”
When Martins turned, he said, breathing in, “But you people.” Then the referee showed him a second yellow card, and therefore a red card, and he sent it off the field.
In the video, Martins applauded the referee and walked off the field. – After the first half, coach Rokitek came to the dressing room himself and apologized for the behavior of the fans – says Ekwueme.
– It was not the fans who kicked me out of the match, but the referee. “I have a grudge against him because he has to be dominant on the pitch,” Martins said.
In the end, the match ends with the hosts winning 1-0. But in this whole case, it is not about the result.
“I won’t leave him like this.”
Seweryn Kaśczyszyn, president of KS Legnickie Pole, monitors the entire incident from the side of the field. He hears Martins is being insulted on a racial basis. He feels embarrassed. When the referee kicks him off the field, he stands next to him and says: “I won’t leave it like that.”
– I told him this as the president of the club, but most of all as a friend. We decided to fight this “thing” going on in our playgrounds – Seoren Kauchezin, president of KS Legnickie Pole, tells Onet.
The day after the match, he posted a Facebook post showing a picture of a black woman (a bun) and Martins Ikweme. He writes: “In the first photo we see a black woman, a bun, whom we love and respect. In the second photo she is not a black woman, it is Martins Ekwemy, man! Twice Polish champion! The color is leather!”.
Emphasize that you cannot ignore racist behavior and pretend it doesn’t exist. “As long as we accept this, we will not respond to such behavior, and we will remain a backward country” – he believes.
– If we had only lodged an official complaint with the Football Association of Lower Silesia, now we would not talk about this racist behavior, and no one would know. In this regard, it is impossible to remain silent. That’s why I wrote about it on Facebook – Kaśczyszyn explains.
The referee talks about the details of the league
Łukasz Woźny, the referee of this meeting, persuaded in an interview with WP SportoweFakty that he showed Martins a second yellow card when he loudly said “j ***** villagers”. Earlier, many people were heard chanting, “Go back to Africa.”
When asked why he did not react when Ekweme was insulted, he said directly: – The player was provoked, these were the voices of many people, but this is also the peculiarity of this league that is usually offended by fans of the hosts and their rivals.
The referee must speak to club officials and tell them to silence the fans who have insulted Martinez. Maybe you will succeed. And if they continue to act like this, he should stop the match – Kauchizen believes.
When we asked him, Martins commented to the judge succinctly: – He has heard what he wants to hear. Only after the red card, as I was leaving the field, did I throw “J*****f**** racists” towards the fans who were challenging me.
“You are most welcome”
The Rocketki Club also issued a statement condemning the behavior of “two or three fans” towards Ikweme. “Immediately after the accident, the president of the Czerny Rokytky club went to the stands in front of the fans who offended the player and resolutely and effectively imposed a cessation of the shameful behavior” – we read in the statement.
The club also apologized directly to Martins. “We apologize for the irresponsible behavior of 2-3 fans. Our club community is those who respect and appreciate you. We express our hope and confidence that you will continue to play on the pitch at Rocketki, you were with us and you are welcome.”
‘They should respect him’
This isn’t the first time Martins has heard racial insults. Last season he was challenged during the match by the players of the opposing team from Zryw Kłębanowice. – She asked the judge to reply at the time, but he said he had not heard anything – says Ekwem.
In that match, Martins also received a red card. Later, he had to temporarily suspend three matches and receive a fine. “Our official letter on this issue has been rejected,” Martins says.
– Therefore, we have now decided not to send an official letter, because we knew that it would not be possible anyway – he adds.
Kaśczyszyn: – At the county level, there are few players with a nickname like Ekwueme. Football players and fans should respect him.
Martins: This is my home
The 37-year-old Martins Ekwemi has been playing in Poland for 22 years. In the past, he represented the colors, among others, of Legia, Bologna and Zagopi Lubin. Now he performs in the club from Legnicie Pole, teaching children to play football for a year. He is a coach at the Knights Academy in Legnici Pole.
– I enjoy playing football all the time. I also love teaching children. I think they are satisfied with the classes. We talk a lot about football. I share my experience with them. We go to tournaments. This is my passion. Martins says I do it with a smile on my face. – The ball is my life.
Martins takes good care of the kids at the academy. It not only teaches them to know how to play football, but also how to be a good person – says the head of Kaśczyszyn.
Martins received Polish citizenship for six years. He lives in Lubin with his family. – Here’s my house. I live most of my life in Poland. I left Nigeria at the age of fifteen – he says it frankly.
Which is why it hurts him when he or a loved one falls victim to racist behavior. My daughter is 13 years old, she plays handball. She once said to me, “Dad, I don’t know if I’m not going to quit this sport.” Martins says the insulting words go towards her.
She keeps telling her daughter that she can’t care about that.
The issue of racist behavior towards Martins Ekwueme has been investigated by the Lower Silesian Football Association’s Disciplinary Committee. The committee’s decisions are due to be announced on Thursday.
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