He wouldn’t let ignorant, evil people get to him. The referee in the Dutch cup match between Den Bosch and AZ Alkmaar wanted to stop it because Jozy Altidore, AZ’s American striker, was being racially abused from the stands by Den Bosch fans. Altidore asked the ref to keep going, scored a penalty goal and finished with an incredibly calm interview about the whole situation.
Altidore has been having a fantastic couple of years with AZ, scoring 34 league goals (including 15 this season) since arriving in 2011, but he never encountered fans’ racism with such force and venom like he did against Den Bosch. He didn’t look affected during the match, and not afterwards.
In the post-match interview, Altidore did say he is human and obviously feels something in the face of these disgusting chants, but he felt the best way to deal with it was to keep on playing, adding he simply prays for those people to find a way to become better men. Not everyone will agree with this approach – we saw Kevin-Prince Boateng of AC Milan handle the situation differently in Italy earlier this month, which stirred some debate regarding walking off a pitch in the middle of the match.
Altidore chose to pull through the filth, and was rewarded for it with a goal and a rare display of character from a man and player who doesn’t let a bunch of idiots who shouldn’t be allowed in football stadiums and deserved to be locked up ruin his and his team’s day.