BLACKED UP: The young fan poses with Diouf
WHEN HE posed for a picture with his footballing idol, Leeds United attacker El Hadji Diouf, the 10-year-old, who resembled the Senegalese player from white Mohican haircut to skin colour, did not realise his decision to post the images on Twitter would generate an online race outcry.
The primary school child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, posted a series of photos featuring him with Leeds players, manager Neil Warnock, fans and even police – the child wears a replica Leeds kit, but critically make-up has been applied to his face to black it up, a move obviously intended to create a more authentic resemblance to Diouf, who apparently saw the funny side of the child’s efforts.
However, there has been a backlash among Twitter users, offended by the blacked up face happily smiling at the camera lens.
Such was the overwhelming response, the boy’s father decided to use his son’s social media account to defend him against those branding the child a racist.
PLAYER ENDORSEMENT: The child is photographed with Leeds captain Peltier, right, and Ryan Hall
“I want to apologise if dressing up has caused offence,” wrote the young fan’s dad.
“He asked to dress up as Diouf so we let him for a bit of fun. We completely underestimated the response it would get. Hes (sic) only 10 and likes the banter so lay off please thanks for positive comments”.
On New Year’s Day, the blacked up boy met his favourite player at Elland Road before Leeds were set to play a Championship fixture against Bolton.
According to the child, Diouf and other Leeds players he posed with found his “costume” amusing.
The boy tweeted another image of himself with Diouf in the player’s tunnel, writing: “Theres (sic) only 2 El-Hadji Dioufs...this is how I've come dressed today.”
After the images had been uploaded online, including one featuring the child fan posing with Leeds captain Lee Peltier, Twitter users vented their dismay. “Wrong on so many levels!” tweeted @greatbearbert. Another user, @JacobKing7 wrote: “This is a charming photo, mixed with a touch of racism”. The hints of irony in that tweet were later confirmed by the user, who tweeted: “Just to clarify I don’t think the young Leeds supporter was being racist, it was a sarcastic tweet”.
POSERS: The fan gets snapped with Warnock and two officers of the law
Others, too, used the incident to make light of the issue, saying the Yorkshire club should sign up “miniDiouf”.
Furthermore, the boy’s father was not the only one defending the child. Norwich player, Robert Snodgrass tweeted: “Can’t a kid… dress up as one of his favourite players these days without people moaning.
“We were kids once. #worldsgonemad”, the Canary player added.
The child himself defended his decision to black up on his account: “Some pl (sic) on here think im racist for going todays game fancy dress loke diouf he loves it all the players do.
“Im a big leeds fan and love diouf.
“I didnt realise i wud get this much attention”, the ten-year-old added.
The boy also published a photo showing him in his Diouf get-up with two police officers. The caption below the image read: “lol if it was racist these wud have nicked me lol”.