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It is time to change the culture inside Juventus

It seems to be getting more difficult to root for this club with every passing day.

The number thirty seven (37) is written on scudetto logo... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

It is getting more difficult by the day to support Juventus, and that’s not exactly a selling point in being a fan of any club. It seems like something new pops up weekly about a new reason to be upset with how something is being run, from the decisions at the highest level to most recently the decisions made by social media managers.

And this isn’t just about the normal concerns most fans have with their club.

Sure, sometimes there are debates about whether you’d like to see more or less of Paulo Dybala. Maybe there is some back and forth about the Andrea Pirlo era still and I still see comments about what one transfer can fix all of the club’s problems.

But there are issues bigger than that. Bigger than football and actually bigger than Juventus.

It was hard to find a tweet that would be enough to distract the football world from the news surrounding Barcelona and Leo Messi, but the official Juventus Women account did just that. The account tweeted out a picture of Juventus player Cecilia Salvai making an offensive and racist gesture toward the camera with a smile on her face.

It starts with the player, but it obviously goes beyond that. The photographer thought it was funny enough to snap a picture and share it with the rest of the club. Then everyone involved with the social media team had to approve it before it was shared with the rest of the world.

The tweet stayed up for 25 minutes before it was deleted, but it was clear the club didn’t realize or care about what was shared because it was the reaction and outrage from the rest of Twitter which pressured them into taking the post down. Then the “apology” statement did not make things any better.

Using the words “may have offended anyone” in an apology really cancels out any sincerity. It gives off the message they still do not see anything wrong with the original post and are putting off the blame on those who are offended. I also can’t get over the use of the word undertones because clearly whoever used it does not know what the word means.

But, at the end of the day, it really does not come as a surprise this happened at Juventus or that the club’s reaction was as poorly handled as it was. It has happened before and at the end of the day, it seems the only thing anyone in charge cares about is making money.

Of course, as the statement said, the club has always been against racism and discrimination, right?

Wrong. Even without assuming there were some racist origins in the club to begin with (I mean this is a 120-year-old club in Italy), you don’t have to go back very far to see the club has actually not “always been against racism and discrimination.”

Everyone should remember the time Moise Kean spent with the club — mostly for his ridiculous talent and how Juventus should have kept him, but that’s not the point I want to make here. After his goal against Cagliari in 2019, he stood motionless in front of the home crowd who continued their racist chants and noises at the teenager who bravely stood his ground.

The postgame reaction from the club was less than impressive. Leonardo Bonucci had the most infamous part of the reaction, saying his teammate had an equal share of the blame. That’s right, he thought it was the teenager’s fault people yelled racist things because — checks notes — he scored a goal? Wait, that can’t be right.

Even Max Allegri, who was Juve’s manager at the time, backed Bonucci more than Kean with his initial reaction by saying he didn’t notice the racist chants that much during the game and that Kean should not have celebrated in that way, blaming his youth and inexperience for the uproar.

Sure, Allegri and Bonucci both walked back on those statements a little bit but the problem is those were the first things that came to their minds to begin with. And now, those two people are back at the club while Kean, and the teammate that stood up for him the most Blaise Matuidi, is elsewhere.

And just in case you needed another example of the club’s poor reaction to wrongdoing, look no further than the star of the club. I do not care at all how you feel about Cristiano Ronaldo as a player, but what I do care about is defending his actions in Las Vegas back in 2009.

If you are reading this story, you already know most of the details but for a quick recap, Kathryn Mayorga is accusing Ronaldo of raping her in his suite at a Las Vegas resort before being forced into a hush-money agreement which involved Ronaldo paying Mayorga $375,000. This was before his days in Turin and Juventus could have avoided the situation entirely by not paying Ronaldo to play for the club but instead, they went full force to defend the guy when the case was reopened in 2018.

“Cristiano Ronaldo has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication, which is appreciated by everyone at Juventus,” the club tweeted. “The events allegedly dating back to almost 10 years ago do not change this opinion, which is shared by anyone who has come into contact with this great champion.”

Once again, there are just so many things wrong with how the club handled the entire situation. There is letting it go until the court makes a legal decision one way or the other, then there is whatever the hell that is. I can’t imagine seeing those allegations and thinking “yeah, okay, so what?” but Juventus did just that and it’s all because he made the team better. (Well, not really, but let’s not do that right now.)

This is just a constant battle with the club on how they handle things, but these are things that never should have happened to begin with. It’s not necessarily about how good the PR team is at handling these situations or how good the apology is, it is about making sure these things just don’t happen.

Sure, I would love to see the club have just moved on and completely cut ties with Bonucci, Ronaldo and Salvai for their actions, but that may not be enough.

Change has to happen at every level of the club. It has to be about changing the culture, from the board to the coaching staff to the players and even the fans. There has to be a demand to be better and sometimes that starts from outside the stadium gates.