This is in such incredibly poor taste. Although the Gazzetta Dello Sport cartoonist explains this as a clumsy attempt at humour, it reveals on a subconscious level how conflicted Italians are towards Mario Balotelli. Besides how does a cartoon referencing a beleaguered King Kong sitting atop the Empire State Building subsequently falling to his death make any connection to the Italian domination of the English? He’s an object of pity. Although he did get the girl in the end.
Balotelli has faced racism from the stands in the Serie and so the reaction is not confined to just Croatian and Spanish fans in this Euro. This is not unique to Italy. You see parallels in the many examples of racist imagery lampooning Barack Obama in the USA.
These are methods of delegitimization whether its the first African American president in US history or in Italy’s case the first black player to represent that country. Whatever you do or become, you will never be one of us.
Update: The Gazetta issued a statement: “if certain readers found the cartoon offensive, we apologise.” But they reject accusations that the cartoon was racially motivated. Okaay!