Inter striker Romelu Lukaku and Roma defender Chris Smalling have both hit out at Corriere dello Sport for their questionable ‘Black Friday’ headline.
The two players are expected to square off against one another when the Nerazzurri play host to the Giallorossi on Friday, but all the talk heading into the match is the front page of the national news paper.
Condemnation has been widespread, as both Roma and AC Milan boycotting the publication for the month of December.
Both men in question have also let their feelings known, with Lukaku calling the headline “the dumbest I have ever seen”.
— R.Lukaku Bolingoli9 (@RomeluLukaku9) December 5, 2019
“Instead of focusing on a battle between two teams… Corriere dello Sport comes with the most dumbest of headlines I have ever seen in my career,” he posted on Twitter.
“You guys keep fuelling the negativity and the racisme issue. Instead of talking about to the beautiful game that’s going to be played at San Siro between two great clubs..
“Education is key. You guys of Corriere dello Sport should do a better job at that..
“Thanks to all the fans and other journalists to hightlights for the support and let’s all look forward to tomorrow’s game. Forza Inter.”
The situation precipitated even further this evening, as Roma and Milan released a joint statement announcing they had banned Corriere dello Sport writers from their “training facilities for the rest of the year and our players will not carry out any media activities with the newspaper during this period.
“We believe that players, clubs, supporters and the media must be united in the fight against racism in football and we all have the responsibility to be very precise in the words we choose and the messages we deliver.
“Both clubs are aware that the actual newspaper article associated with the ‘BLACK FRIDAY’ headline did portray an anti-racist message and for this reason, we have only banned Corriere dello Sport until January.
“We remain totally committed to tackling racism.”
Smalling echoed Lukaku’s sentiments, calling the headline both “wrong and highly sensitive”.
— Chris Smalling (@ChrisSmalling) December 5, 2019
“Whilst I would have liked to spend the day focusing on the big game tomorrow, it is important that I acknowledge that what occurred this morning was wrong and highly insensitive,” the Englishman wrote on Twitter.
“I hope the editors involved in running this headline take responsibility and understand the power they possess through words, and the impact those words can have.
“A big shout out to AS Roma for the support!
“Now let the battle commence Rom, daje Roma!”