Euro 2012 hasn't even officially started—it kicks off today—but we're already hearing that some soccer fans in Krakow, Poland have resorted to using racist chants to try and intimidate black players on one of the team's participating in the tournament. According to a report in the UK's The Guardian, about 25,000 people gathered at a practice for the Dutch team on Thursday afternoon. And hundreds of those in attendance loudly jeered several black Dutch players, including Nigel de Jong and Gregory van der Wiel, and made monkey sounds while they were trying to run through a training session. In fact, it got so bad at one point that the entire team had to move to the opposite side of the stadium in order to avoid the racial epithets that were being used by those in the crowd.
"It is a real disgrace," the team's captain Mark van Bommel said after the practice ended. "We will take it up with UEFA and if it happens at a match we will talk to the referee and ask him to take us off the field."
So, will blatant racism like this ruin the mood in Poland and Ukraine during Euro 2012? Only time will tell. But, for the sake of the game of soccer, let's hope this incident isn't a sign of things to come.
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