Argentine Soccer Player Terminated by Team, Could Face Jail Term Over Antisemitic Gestures
The Argentine soccer player who made global headlines last week when he roiled supporters of a rival team with antisemitic gestures has been ditched by his own side.
30-year-old Arnaldo “Pitu” González — a midfield player with second-tier side Nueva Chicago — made the gestures to the fans of rival team Atlanta, which has historic connections to the Jewish community, after being ejected from the pitch following a violent altercation with the referee.
On Friday, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) announced that González would be suspended for 10 matches as punishment for the provocation, in which he simulated the act of circumcision by pointing to his genitals and mockingly imitated the act of placing a kippah on his head.
González is also facing criminal charges for inciting disorder and engaging in discriminatory acts. The player could face up to three years in jail were he to be convicted of violating an Argentine law against incitement for national, ethnic or religious reasons.
In his report to the AFA committee considering González’s case, match referee Ariel Gastón Suárez explained that he had been dealing with a dispute on another part of the pitch when his attention was diverted by Gonzalez pushing and then punching an Atlanta player. Gonzalez was promptly sent off, sparking an angry showdown with the referee.
Video of the incident showed González screaming at and pushing the referee.
According to Suárez , González insulted him as a “son of a b___” and a “motherf___” as he was shown the red card. After refusing to leave the field for three minutes, González eventually made his way towards the player tunnel — but not before insulting the Atlanta fans with crude antisemitic gestures.
Amid the outcry that followed, González apologized for his actions, describing himself in a tweet as “very ashamed.” His club also formally apologized to the Jewish community.