“I’m shocked on so many levels. Firstly, how would the Spanish feel if the English stereotyped Spanish people as backward, stupid, and animalistic homosexuals? Secondly, what does this say about Pepe Reina? The Liverpool goalkeeper has lived and worked in the UK for nearly a decade, does he think it’s OK to characterise black people this way? Does he think his black team‑mates will laugh at his joke?” – Simon Woolley, Operation Black Vote.
The words racism and Liverpool Football Club are back in headlines this Wednesday, although at least on this occasions Luis Suarez had nothing to do with it.
The Scousers must have hoped that their Carling Cup victory over Cardiff would have started a new narrative in the back end of a season stained by the Patrice Evra-Suarez racism storm. Sadly, only days after their Wembley triumph, that pipe-dream has been blown out the water.
Pepe Reina, the Merseysiders’ Spanish goalie who has arguably been the best keeper in the Premier League since his arrival back in 2005, is now at the centre of a new scandal involving a TV commercial.
Working for multinational insurance firm Groupama, Reina starred in a Spanish ad in which he met a supposed African tribe in a jungle scene with the Liverpool player, whose name translates as queen in Spanish, attracting the sexual attentions of the leader.
Whether the ad – which has now been pulled off the air after a complaint from the Operation Black Vote lobby group – was racist, poor taste or just plain stupid, question marks are being levelled at Liverpool for their poor judgement in allowing their goalie to take part in this project.
Harsh? Maybe, but after the whole Suarez fiasco many would have thought that the Liverpudlians would be walking on racially politically-correct eggshells. That, however, clearly has not transpired.