Rio de Janeiro’s government has named a law against racism after Real Madrid player Vinicius Jr.
The “Vini Jr. law” was passed by the Rio government unanimously in June. If racist behavior happens at a sporting event, it will be stopped or put on hold.
Last season, Vinicius, who is 22, was called racist names more than once.
“Today is a very special day, and I hope my family is very proud,” he said at a ceremony at the Maracana Stadium, where he made his first professional appearance for Flamengo.
“I am a very young person, and I didn’t expect to get this honor.”
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Local media said that the rule was based on how Vinicius reacted when he was called racist names during a game at Valencia in May. The game was stopped when Vinicius pointed out the people who were being mean.
The law has rules about how to deal with racism complaints and requires educational efforts.
Vinicius also got awards from Rio’s legislative assembly and city council, and his feet were added to the stadium’s “Walk of Fame,” along with those of great Brazilian athletes like Pele, Garrincha, and Ronaldo.
Rafael Picciani, Rio’s sports secretary, said it was a pleasure to honor “an idol of Brazilian football who was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro.”
Vinicius has been asked to lead a group of players on a special Fifa team to fight racism.
His most recent games were friendlies for Brazil against Guinea and Senegal at the end of the season. These games were part of a campaign against racism and will continue with a match against Spain at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium in March 2019.
“Sometimes I wonder if I deserve so much,” said Vinicius, who went from Flamengo to Real in 2018.
“I didn’t think I would win so many awards and get so much love at the Maracana, where I played so many Flamengo games.”