Dutch soccer players boycott TV show over Black Pete remarks

The Dutch men’s and women’s national football team players said they would no longer grant interviews to a popular TV show due to remarks made a commentator mocking an anti-racism protester.

In a statement first published on Twitter men’s team captain Virgil Dijk, the players said they would no longer speak with the Veronica Inside programme.

This was after the host compared a prominent Dutch black activist to “Black Pete”.

Black Pete is a fictional character in Dutch winter holiday celebrations usually portrayed white people wearing black face paint – a tradition criticised this week U.S. civil rights leader Jesse Jackson as offensive.

“This is not on the edge, this has nothing to do with humour, this is not the language of football,” said Liverpool defender Dijk.

The national football association KNVB told national broadcaster NOS that it stood the players.

Veronica Inside host Johan Derksen said earlier that he did not regret his comments.

“I didn’t think the joke was really that bad, for me,” he told newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

“This is a storm in a teacup that will blow over,” he said.

Several show sponsors, including supermarket retail giant Ahold, said they would stop advertising during the show, which is aired by Talpa, a company owned by billionaire Dutch media mogul John de Mol.

“We are in discussions with the channel and have indicated that we do not wish to advertise during this programme,” Ahold said in a statement.

“There is no room for discrimination at Albert Heijn,” it said, referring to the largest Dutch supermarket chain.

Procter & Gamble said it would no longer advertise its Gillette razor blades during the programme, broadcaster NOS reported. P&G could not immediately be reached for comment. (Reuters/)