Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling slam Corriere dello Sport as Roma and AC Milan ban paper
By Lyall Thomas
Last Updated: 06/12/19 9:58am
Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling have slammed Corriere dello Sport while Roma and AC Milan have banned the paper for their 'Black Friday' front page.
The Italian daily newspaper has been accused of fuelling racism with its Thursday headline, which ran alongside pictures of Inter Milan striker Lukaku and Roma defender Chris Smalling ahead of the two sides' Serie A clash this week.
Lukaku branded it the "dumbest" of headlines while Manchester United loanee Smalling said it was "highly insensitive", despite the article itself portraying an anti-racist message, according to Roma.
Both Roma and Milan have subsequently both seen fit to ban the paper from their training facilities and from interviewing their players until January.
Lukaku tweeted: "Instead of focusing on a battle between the two teams, Corriere dello Sport comes with the most dumbest of headlines I have ever seen in my career.
"You guys keep fuelling the negativity and the racism issue instead of talking about the beautiful game that's going to be played at San Siro between two great clubs.
"Education is key. You guys of Corriere dello Sport should do a better job at that. Thanks to all the fans and other journalists to highlights for the support and let's all look forward to tomorrow's game."
Smalling's own tweet read: "Whilst I would have liked to spend the day focusing on big game tomorrow, it is important that I acknowledge that what occurred this morning was wrong and highly insensitive.
"I hope the editors involved in running this headline take responsibility and understand the power they possess through words, and the impact those words can have."
Roma issued a statement on behalf of both AC Milan and themselves confirming the newspaper's punishment, stating: "AS Roma and AC Milan publicly condemn the front page headline published today by Corriere dello Sport.
"We believe that players, clubs, supporters and the media must be united in the fight against racism in football and we all have a responsibility to be very precise in the words we choose and the messages we deliver.
"In response to the 'Black Friday' headline published today by the newspaper, Roma and Milan have decided to ban Corriere dello Sport from our training facilities for the rest of the year and our players will not carry out any media activities with the newspaper during this period.
"Both clubs are aware that the actual newspaper article associated with the 'Black Friday' headline did portray an anti-racist message and for this reason, we have only banned Corriere dello Sport until January. We remain totally committed to tackling racism."