‘We love you’: After making racist joke about their black teammate, men’s national gymnastics team record video apology – situation provokes calls for punishment



Note from BW of Brazil: So typical, so Brazilian! This story is the perfect example of how racism works in Brazil and how the society continues to make superficial claims of combating a very widespread, normalized behavior. In this latest example of “we are all equal”/”Brazilians aren’t racists”, the only black athlete on the Brazilian men’s gymnastics National Team was recently on the receiving end of an insensitive, racist joke. But in the typical Brazilian fashion of feigning sincerity, not seriously addressing it or making a joke of it, the athletes quickly threw together a customary apology. It’s almost as if they were saying, “we’re really sorry that we got caught, but you’re still black!”

Bear in mind that this ‘joke’ comes a little less than two weeks after 18-year old Ângelo Assumpção took the gold medal for Brazil in the World Cup of Gymnastics held in the Ibirapuera Gymnasium in São Paulo. With a score of 15,025, the gymnast beat out the German Mathias Farig (14,850) and his Brazilian teammate Diego Hypolito (14,837). The point here is that this ‘apology’ changes nothing! As numerous examples of Brazilian racism featured on this blog show, the behavior and the belief in white superiority is a part of Brazilian culture and there is no reason to believe that the daily assault on black self-esteem won’t continue. The psychology of racism/white supremacy is a regular weapon that is a used against the Afro-Brazilian experience!

Still from 18-year old Ângelo Assumpção's performance at the World Cup of Gymnastics
Still from 18-year old Ângelo Assumpção’s performance at the World Cup of Gymnastics

The problem and danger is that rather than reacting and creating all-black organizations to prepare themselves for such behavior, millions of black Brazilians will continue to believe that this problem is simply a case of a few ‘bad apples’ and continue the desire to blend into white Brazilian society.The message here? Whether one is a lawyer, a doctor, a police sergeant, or a gold medal winning athlete, in Brazil, when one is black none of this matters! An apology here really makes no difference. The aggressor here clearly made his beliefs known and whether he repeats another such ‘joke’ or not, in an environment that overvalues whiteness, his ideology of white superiority is not likely to change. Sad situation, as the victim must hold his head up and continue working with such teammates. And unfortunately, as we’ve seen numerous times, the only thing missing here is the victim making a statement about “we are all equal”

Racism of Brazil’s national gymnastics team provokes reactions in society

by Claudio Nogueira

Athletes could be punished after racist joke made with teammate Ângelo Assumpção
Athletes could be punished after racist joke made with teammate Ângelo Assumpção

Experts and activists in the fight against prejudice emphasize that racial discrimination can never be seen as a simple joke

Apparently harmless, a video of conversations between athletes of the Brazilian men’s gymnastics team who are training in Portugal, preparing for the Pan American Games, exposed to the country an unfortunate facet of Brazilian sport: injúrias raciais (racial slurs). Sent to Globo (news) the video shows the gymnast Arthur Nory Mariano comparing the black athlete Ângelo Assumpção to a defective cell phone, with a black screen, and a trash bag. On Friday, given the rapid repercussions, Arthur, Henrique Flores, Fellipe Arakawa and the offended himself recorded message in which the three apologized to an embarrassed Ângelo.

“We’re all friends,” said, the jumping test champion in the last stage of the Copa do Mundo (World Cup) in São Paulo.

Images from video at the center of controversy
Images from video at the center of controversy

The case reverberated beyond sport. For the Executive-Secretariat of the Secretary of Policies for  the Promotion of Racial Equality of the Presidency Giovanni Harvey, there was no joke, but racism.

“In the video of the apology (see here), Ângelo is embarrassed. Not content in discriminating against Ângelo, they posted it,” he said. “I await the manifestation of the Brazilian Gymnastics Confederation (CBG), whose disciplinary code, Article 89, establishes punishments from warnings to disaffiliation. I await a statement from the Brazil Olympic Committee (COB), Marcus Vinícius Freire whose superintendent said in January that racism must be punished the same as doping.

‘We love you’


In the video of the apology, Arthur (all-around) and more Henrique (hoops) and Santino (all-around) tried to be kind to Ângelo (jump and land). In the first video, the young people chatted about coffee.

“If the phone works, the screen is white. If it breaks, what color is it?,” he asked Arthur without Ângelo’s response. “É preto.” (It’s black)

“The grocery bag is what color? It’s white! And the garbage (bag) is what color?,” he asked again, Arthur, along with Henrique and Fellipe, with Ângelo’s silence. “É preto”.

In video, athletes apologize to Assumpção, at left
In video, athletes apologize to Assumpção, at left

In the video, the three, watching their upset companion, embrace him. Ângelo says:

“I don’t want to know about falsehood!”

Arthur tries to reason:

“No one is false. We love you!”

“You understood wrong”

Ângelo Assumpção
Ângelo Assumpção

Ângelo ended up stating that they all are friends. In response to the repercussions, Arthur wrote on Facebook (2,309 friends) and Instagran (62,200 followers): “I would like to publicly apologize to my colleague of the National Team, Ângelo Assumpção, and who may have been offended with the video. It was a joke between friends, really very unfortunate, and that took on a proportion we didn’t expect. I apologize for my mistake and take this opportunity to say that I am very proud to have him as a friend and training partner. “

Probably clueless of the controversy, the CBG merely disclosed a short note: “The CBG leaves it clear that it rejects any form of racism. The entity will better ascertain the situation in order to understand what happened, as the male artistic gymnastics team is training in Portugal.” The Olympic Committee of Brazil (COB) has already said that it doesn’t tolerate racism or prejudice: “The athletes have shown themselves repentant in social networks and the coaching committee of the National Team has also caught the attention of athletes. We hope that events like this are not repeated.”


For Friar David dos Santos, director of Educafro Association, a free pre-university preparation organization, of which more than 40,000 black and poor students have had access to universities, Ângelo is being manipulated by the CBG and his friends:

“If he takes the matter seriously, he will pay a high price: exclusion. He, who plans to be victorious, prefers not to risk it and say it was a joke. It’s a survival tool of the isolated black in realities that he normally doesn’t frequently. I’m black, and when I entered the seminary, I remained silent on racism.


The Joel Zito Araújo shirt film,
The Joel Zito Araújo short film, “Vista Minha Pele”

The friar suggested that everyone watch the short film Vista minha pele which shows a Brazilian society controlled by blacks, where whites are discriminated against:

“The successful black success has to make the society more transparent, honest and integrated. When you see racism as a disease it’s what one seeks to cure. Seeing it as a joke is putting it off. Racism is never a joke!”

The case caught the attention of lawyer Marcelo Dias, president of the Comission of Racial Equality of the OAB (Brazilian Lawyers’ Guild) and the Comissão da Verdade da Escravidão Negra (Truth Commission of Black Slavery) of the Guild. Dias has already requested a meeting with the CBG on the topic:

“There is no joke. Brazilian education is strongly racist and there is resistance from state and municipal departments of education regarding Law 10.639, on the inclusion of African history in the curriculum. It would be important to re-educate these young people and show them that racism is a crime.

According to other experts, it’s not enough to just apologize.

“An in-depth discussion in the National Team is necessary, so that the values ​​are understood by all. The COB reflects little about the fact that yachting wins more medals than athletics. The country’s sport remains elitist and marked by inequality and there is something to reflect on with this,” emphasized Marcelo Paixão, professor of the Instituto de Economia (Economics Institute) of UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) and director of the Laboratório de Estudos das Desigualdades Sociais (Laeser or Laboratory of Studies of Social Inequalities). “These athletes should visit poor communities.”

In futebol, racism has unfortunately been common in recent years. In several games recently, black players have reported racist abuse coming from the stands. It happened, for example, with the Brazilian Daniel Alves, of Barcelona (Spain), ​​with Tinga, of Cruzeiro, in a Libertadores game, and Aranha, of Santos, in a game against Grêmio. In other sports, a case happened in the US, after the press leaked a conversation between the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team with his then-girlfriend. Audio revealed Donald Sterling asking the woman not to bring blacks to team games. The case has generated immense reaction to statements by President Barack Obama and Sterling was banned from the NBA.

Vista Minha Pele

Source: Correio do Povo de Alagoas

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. “Probably clueless of the controversy”

    They are not clueless. They are cowardly but wisely staying out of this mess. The sooner people stop talking about it, the better for them.

  2. I kinda hate that the sole Black team member probably felt pressure to appear in this stupid vidoe, alongside his white-supremacist abusers. They are probably jealous of him, as non-Black athletes tend to be in any sport that matters in the world. Just as is the case in North America, Black and Brown Brazilians who have been discriminated against seem to be under some sort of unspoken social pressure to quickly forgive and forget. I am SO happy that sites like this shine a spotlight on this criminal behavior and puts it on blast for the world to see forever.

  3. Disgusting little pigs. What colour is cancer? white, what colour is pus? white. See, not everything white is good or good for you.

    This is the tactic whites always use. The attack was not benign it was a conscious effort to break Angelo’s rise to success. Here is a handsome star athlete on the rise with a bright future ahead of him what better way to stop him in his track than try to kill his spirits. I hope Angelo has a good support network around him and know that unfortunately more of this may be coming, but to keep on succeeding and doing what he loves.

  4. The examples one sees of condescending Brazilian racist comments at the highest levels reads like a throwback to the sort of stuff white and mulatto children in the Caribbean of a bygone era used to make. Crazy.

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