Inter & Roma Condemn Corriere dello Sport Headline Featuring Romelu Lukaku & Chris Smalling

​Serie A clubs Inter and Roma have both condemned the ‘Black Friday’ headline used by newspaper Corriere dello Sport ahead of the game between the two teams on Friday night.

The headline is accompanied by pictures of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling and was met with immediate criticism upon its release.

While the two sides have issued statements criticising the publication, Corriere dello Sport defended the headline, taking aim at ‘casual moralists’ in response.

“The intention of the newspaper article was actually positive,” Roma’s chief strategy officer Paul Rogers said, as quoted by ​BBC Sport. “But this headline has totally overshadowed the anti-racist message contained within the story.”

In response, Corriere dello Sport ​argued: “White, blacks, yellows. To negate every difference is the typical massive error of ‘the racism of the anti-racisms’.

“The mental rabble of those casual moralists. ‘Black Friday’, for those who want and can understand it, it was only a way to celebrate diversity.

“If you don’t understand, it is because you can’t or you don’t want to understand.”

The article is actually about the upcoming clash between Lukaku and Smalling on Friday, with that single battle thought to be of importance. 

While Corriere may argue readers should not leap to condemn them, racism in football has come to the fore over the past year or so – with a number of incidents occurring in Italy – and the headline has rightly been received poorly.

Fellow Serie A giants Milan have also weighed in, ​stating: “It is totally unacceptable to see such casual ignorance on racism. We will not stay silent on this issue…”

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​Lukaku and Smalling previously played together at ​Manchester United, prior to their summer moves to ​Serie A. Both have started the 2019/20 season well – Lukaku has rediscovered his scoring touch while Smalling is enjoying his best run of form in years, with some even suggesting he should be recalled to Gareth Southgate’s England squad.