UDINE, Italy (AP) — AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan walked off the field after being subjected to racist abuse by Udinese fans during a top-tier Italian league game on Saturday — prompting the match to be suspended briefly during the first half.
Shortly after Milan had scored to take a 1-0 lead and Milan was about to take a goal kick, Maignan signaled to his teammates to stop, walked to the referee and then to the sideline.
“They made monkey noises and it’s not the first time it’s happened to me,” the 28-year-old Maignan told DAZN.
Teammates attempted to console Maignan on the sideline but then the France international took his gloves off and walked down the tunnel leading off the field.
Maignan, who is Black, had also told the referee about monkey chants earlier during the match, prompting an announcement in the stadium asking fans to stop.
The Serie A game resumed about five minutes after the suspension when Maignan and teammates came back out. Milan won 3-2.
“I was upset to have to go into the changing room like that but I had everyone’s support," Maignan said. "We talked and then we made the decision to go back out onto the field and make the appropriate response — to win this game.”
“I really didn’t want to play anymore. … But we’re a family and I couldn’t leave my teammates like that.”
Udinese will likely be hit with a partial stadium closure for its next home match.
“There is absolutely no place in our game for racism: we are appalled, “ Milan said on X, formerly Twitter. "We are with you, Mike.”
Maignan was also subjected to racist chants in a game at Cagliari two seasons ago.
There have been numerous racist incidents in Italian and European soccer for years, with cases in Italy aimed at Kevin-Prince Boateng, Mario Balotelli and Romelu Lukaku among others.
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