Paolo Di Canio wants the good old days back. The days of the brownshirt. And it helps that he plays for Lazio, the club that prospered under the benevolence of Benito Mussolini. Outside the Olympico stadium is a huge obelisk emblazoned with the words “Mussolini, Il Duce.” In a gesture emblematic of what ails Italian soccer, he regularly celebrates his goals by raising his arm in the fascist salute. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, owner of AC Milan, stated that the salute “did not have any significance” and described the player as ‘an exhibitionist but a good lad’
He has a tattoo emblazoned on his arm that reads DVX, the Latin symbol for Duce, ala Mussolini. In a match last year against bitter rivals, AS Roma he ran to the part of the field that held his supporters, the fascist Irrudicibli and performed the fascist salute. He repeated the gesture against Livorno and Juventus. Di Canio is an accomplished striker and impressed EPL fans playing for West Ham before returning to Lazio but he does the image of soccer too much damage with his ultranationalist and fascistic attitude. For this gesture he was fined a paltry sum of 10,000 Euros and banned for a match by the Italian Football Federation
The Italian Football Federation should do much more. DI Canio should have been banned for a season and paid a stiffer fine. The Italian national team has not one single player of any other ethnicity other than Italian and there is no danger of it happening anytime soon. Lazio has one non- white brave soul playing for them, the Cote D’Ivoire player Christian Manfredini with a distinctly Italian sounding last name.
And Italy is not a country that is going to be over run by immigrants. There are 2.5 miilion immigrants out of a population of 60 million. That is about 4% of the population. So we’re not talking about the Paolo Di Canio salute having anything to do with the oppression of Italians by a group of hard working immigrants taking over that country. It is just a gratuitous and self serving gesture. But it sends a message to the rest of the world, of a country that has very little tolerance for outsiders. In fact, there are more Italian immigrants to the rest of the world. During the period 1820 and 1920 over 4,190,000 people emigrated from Italy to the United States.