Last Sunday in a La Liga draw featuring the likes of Villarreal and Barcelona F.C. Barca player Dani Alves was the target of an unfortunate aspect of the beautiful game: racism. While preparing to take a corner kick a Villarreal fan threw a banana onto the field, imply that Alves, a Brazilian, was a monkey. In a stunning display of grace Alves picked up the banana and took a bite out of it in one motion while taking the corner kick. While what happened on the pitch was the epitome of coolheadedness what happened after the game was truly special.
Alves’s teammates, players from other teams across Europe, and fans the world over began to tweet pictures of themselves with bananas, labeled with the hashtag “weareallmonkies.” In the span of a days time over 60,000 tweets with the hashtag were issued. Alves and this recent row over racism in football show just how powerful social media is in galvanizing the public over events like the Villarreal/Barca game as a single player was able to create a short but powerful outburst of public opinion on a serious issue.