Gymnasts compare black teammate to a trash bag and the color of a broken phone screen
They have apologized and the teammate says, "But there's no problem, we're friends"
Three Brazilian gymnasts were suspended after posting a video on social media teasing their black teammate about his skin color and comparing him to a trash bag.
The three young men recorded a cell phone video joking with their teammate, 18-year-old teammate Angelo Assumpcao.
“The plastic bag at the supermarket is white … and the trash bag? Black!” the voices shout, using a word that is a racist term in Brazil for blacks.
They also joke that when a cell phone is working, the screen is white. But when it’s broken, the screen is black.
The video was posted by Arthur Nory, one of the gymnasts involved, on Snapchat last week. A day later he tweeted that Snapchat had shut his account down. That tweet has disappeared from his account.
In the video, also posted on Globo newspaper’s website, Assumpcao appears to be annoyed. When the gymnasts try to apologize, he accuses them of being “fake.”
The video quickly went viral, prompting angry responses and accusations of racism.
Many people said it set a bad example as Rio de Janeiro prepares to host the 2016 Olympics.
The Brazilian Gymnastics Confederation has suspended Nory, 21, and the two other gymnasts involved: Felipe Arakawa, 21, and Henrique Flores, 24. They will also have to appear before a sports tribunal.
Before the confederation announced its decision, the three gymnasts posted a second video along with Assumpcao on Nory’s Instagram site.
In it, Nory expresses his “sincere apologies” and Arakawa says they were misunderstood.
Assumpcao says, “But there’s no problem, we’re friends.”