Bryan Cristante, a midfielder for the Italian professional soccer team A.S. Roma, was handed a one-game suspension for the “crime” of blasphemy. Apparently, over the weekend, he said a word akin to “goddamn” during a match.
“The Sports Judge received a formal report from the Federal Prosecutor regarding the conduct of the player Bryan Cristante,” the statement said.
“[Cristante] pronounced a blasphemous expression at the 23rd minute of the first half. The relative TV images acquired and examined, with full technical and documentary guarantee; considering that the player in question was clearly framed by the TV footage while uttering a blasphemous expression, identifiable and audible without margins of reasonable doubt.“
The question shouldn’t be whether he said it, though. It should be why he deserves to be punished for something that shouldn’t be a crime to begin with. (Swearing doesn’t generate a penalty. Blaspheming does.)
This punishment is nothing new, though. Last year, two players who also belong to Serie A (top-tier) teams were suspended for the same reason, as were multiple players in the years prior to that.
These people were suspended for something that didn’t affect the game, didn’t hurt anybody, and would’ve gone otherwise unnoticed. That’s how ridiculous these faith-based punishments are.
The blasphemy ban in Italian soccer has been in place since 2010.