Greek prosecutor investigates TV slur against basketballer
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A Greek prosecutor is investigating televised remarks made by a sport commentator who allegedly called black basketball player Thanasis Antetokounmpo an “ape.”
Takis Tsoukalas made the comments on Nov. 9 after Antetokounmpo’s Panathinaikos beat Olympiakos 93-80 in the Euroleague.
“They have an ape. That Antetokounmpo guy is an ape — that’s what I’m telling you,” he said. “What is that clown doing? Isn’t he ashamed of himself? He’s making his brother look bad.”
Tsoukalas angrily denied his criticism was racially motivated and insisted he was referring to behavior on the court.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the older brother of NBA forwards Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kostas Antetokounmpo, drew support from Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who last week wore a national team shirt over his clothes with Antetokounmpo on the back.
Giannis described Tsoukala’s comments as racist.
“I have lost sleep over the last few days over this negative-racist incident which occurred recently,” Giannis wrote on Twitter. “If this happens to Thanasis, who with pride and a permanent smile represents the Greek national team and Panathinaikos, I can’t imagine what is happening to other colored people in Greece.”
Thanasis did not wish to comment directly on the incident, when asked by reporters on Sunday.
“I don’t have anything to tell you,” he said. “We should just love each other and stay united.”
The brothers were born in Athens to Nigerian parents.
People found responsible for racial incitement can be jailed for up to three years, under a law approved by parliament in 2014