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"We did not insult a player, but the man that I am": Loïc Akono denounces racism in basketball


The basketball player from Metz (Nationale 2) was the victim of racist remarks during a championship match in Charleville on Sunday. The case quickly

His phone keeps ringing.

This Monday, January 30 in the morning, he posted dozens, hundreds of missed calls and messages of support, solidarity and indignation.

A real chain reaction which follows the verbal and racist aggression of which Loïc Akono was the victim.

Sunday afternoon, in the middle of a National 2 basketball match, the anonymous 4th French level, the Metz player was insulted by a spectator from Charleville-Mézières who called him a "bonobo".

“I was on the ground after a collision with an opposing player and when my captain Kevin Kaly helped me up, he heard someone in the stands saying to me:

Get up, bonobo

, says the 35-year-old player, father of a 6 year old boy.

He was right in front of us, in the 2nd or 3rd row in the stands.

I still see it when I close my eyes.

Twenty-four hours later, I still can't realize what happened to me.

It's brutal, these are violent, harsh words.

I am devastated.


On the images of the match, we see the former Nanterre player (Pro A and Pro B) designate the author of the remarks to one of the referees of the meeting and want to go to the person concerned.

“I'm not violent, I didn't want to insult or fight him, but just make him understand that we don't have the right to say that,” explains Akono.

“I risked having a fault if I went to discuss with this person”

But the player is prevented from doing so by his partners and by the referee.

“He replied that he had heard, but that I had to remain calm and continue to play and, above all, that I risked taking a technical foul if I went to discuss with this person.


🙏🏽 force to you

— Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum) January 29, 2023

It's the first time it's happened to me.

I took this position of going into the locker room and nothing was going to make me change.

It's a shame in 2023 to come to this, but I couldn't stay on this ground.


— Loic akono (Lockobarber) (@Loicak9) January 29, 2023

Shocked, stunned, almost KO standing as shown by his attitude on the field, the playmaker continues to play before being released by his coach who is not, at this time, aware of the insults.

This is too much injustice.

While the author of the remarks continues to quietly attend the match, he is forced to remain silent.

Sitting on the bench.



After a few moments, he decides to leave the room to join the locker room.

"They prevent me from expressing myself on the ground and from responding to this person, it's as if they were cutting off my arms, legs and tongue," he explains.

So I decided to leave.


“If it can help the situation, so much the better”

But not to be silent.

Neither to forget or let pass.

In the process, he therefore decides to explain the situation on social networks to "tell the truth, denounce this racism and that it does not go unpunished".

In a few hours, his two short messages exceeded one million views.

Anonymous, former partners, or adversaries, and even personalities from the world of basketball, such as the captain of the France team Nicolas Batum, have already given him his support.

"It's heartwarming," says Akono.

Others say that they, too, have been victims of racist remarks and thank him for his courage.

These people have nothing to do in the stands… 🤦🏿‍♂️ force you bro ✊🏿

— Lahaou Konate (@lahaouKonate) January 29, 2023

“I've been playing basketball for 18 years, I've played in all the halls of France, and this is the first time I've heard that, regrets Loïc Akono.

I'm sure my guys, my teammates, would have followed me if I had told them to stop playing and get off the field.

I never thought I would experience this, especially in my last season… It's crazy to hear these insults in 2023. Let it be trivialized.

Afterwards, a player from Charleville told him that they had continued playing because everyone thought he was out with a thigh injury after the crash.

The wound is present but it is not physical.

It touches the integrity of a man.

"It's not normal that nothing is happening"

At the end of the match, the two clubs filed a report which is now in the hands of the Federation, which did not comment on the case.

“The whole club is behind Loïc Akono, assures us for his part Luc Torres, president of Charleville-Mézières.

We must condemn these remarks if they were made, we must not hear them in a basketball court or wherever.

We cannot accept that.

We will conduct our investigation and we will do what is necessary when it is over.


“I believe them, says the double French champion of Pro B (2011 and 2014).

I don't regret leaving, it's my decision, I couldn't stay in this room.

They didn't call me an asshole, they didn't boo me on a free throw or say I sucked, it's nothing, it's common in the halls.

We did not insult a player but the man that I am with my skin color.

When my captain tells the referees that there have been racist remarks and that the guy must be excluded, it is not normal that nothing happens.

Even today, it pisses me off.

I don't have the words to express what I feel.

The wound is deep.

It's gonna take me a while to cash in.


To read alsoOlivier Dacourt on racism in the stadiums: “We identify the author, we come to find him, we release him”

After consulting its leaders, also indignant, and having been contacted by the players' union (SNB), Akono, who does not hide his "need to be referred", should decide to file a complaint.

“Fortunately these remarks are reprehensible (

punishable by one year's imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros

), indicates Julie Campassens, legal and administrative manager at the SNB.

We have just launched with the FNASS (

National Federation of Sports Associations and Unions)

a survey of the different types of harassment suffered by sportswomen and sportsmen and women, we noticed that the problems of racism came up regularly in basketball.

We have the example of a player who suffered monkey cries while shopping.

It's ubiquitous on the networks and in theaters, but many athletes are resigned and say nothing.

Federations should perhaps legislate so that players feel supported.

Loïc had a very good reaction.

If no one talks about it, there can be no improvement.



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“The wave of support comforts me, appreciates Akono.

People are aware that there is racism and that we have to make sure that it disappears.

It's obviously very complicated.

I know it exists, even in basketball, but I may be the first to really talk about it, to denounce it.

If that can help the situation, so much the better.


Source: leparis

All sports articles on 2023-01-30

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