Bulls’ Jaric blasts English on Twitter after alleged racist incident at soccer match
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org October 19, 2012 6:40PM
Chicago Bulls guard Marko Jaric works on his jump shot during pre-game warmups before the Bulls play the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday October 9, 2012 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: November 21, 2012 6:08AM
Marko Jaric — averaging zero points and four minutes per game in the pre-season — hasn’t exactly made a statement in a Chicago Bulls jersey.
It’s what the Serbian native said in a Tweet this week that’s generating headlines across Europe and put him in the middle of a furious row over alleged racism at a recent soccer match in Jaric’s homeland.
The Under-21 international match between England and Serbia Tuesday ended in a mass brawl involving players and some fans, amid accusations Serbian fans subjected a black England player to racist “monkey chants” during the game.
And with a backdrop of the English Football Association now threatening to stop playing matches in Serbia, Jaric — in Serbian — accused the English of hypocrisy.
“Could Englishmen teach us about human rights?” Jaric said in the Oct. 17 Tweet. “They invented hooliganism and slavery. Shame on us if they can teach us anything.”
In a Tweet posted Friday in English, Jaric wrote: “What’s wrong with English news. Stop twisting my tweet. I know for fact that Serbs are not racist. Fans probably tried to piss that kid off.”
Before a Bulls exhibition game Friday, Jaric talked more about the swirling controversy.
“There was a soccer match between Serbia and England, and the fans were really booing, and were very disrespectful to the black English kid, and then after that the English media tried to make it a big scene and treat it like we are a racist country,” Jaric said. “That pissed me off because I know my people, I know that we are not racists. The fans, especially in Eastern Europe, will go to every point to try and piss you off. If it’s skin color they’re going to call you that, if it’s something else, trust me, they’re going to find something to get to you. But I know that it is not because we are racist.’’
At the end of the match, which England won, England’s Danny Rose is seen kicking the soccer ball into the crowd. The referee then ejects Rose, after the end of the game. That’s when a fight breaks out.
Rose, who is black, later told reporters that he became frustrated after some Serbian fans subjected him to racist chants before and during the game. Rose also said the crowd threw stones at him.
When he’s not playing for the national team, Rose is on the roster at English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.
Jaric, 34, is a 7-year pro who has averaged 5.8 points per game during his career. He’s married to Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima.