Italian police are looking into the case of whether one of Italy’s best known soccer players is longing for the good old days of Benito and Adolph — a question raised by him giving what looked like to be a classic fascist salute.
According to the BBC:
Paolo di Canio appeared to make the gesture after his team Lazio beat local rivals Roma by 3-1.
Di Canio used to play for English teams West Ham and Charlton, as well as at home with Juventus and AC Milan. ..
On Saturday, though, Italian newspapers carried pictures of Di Canio’s face distorted with pride.
His right arm was apparently raised in a straight-armed Roman salute that would have been instantly recognised by the former fascist leader of Italy, Benito Mussolini.
It would also have been recognised by the minority of far-right, racist supporters who have given Lazio a bad name over the years.
It has now been confirmed that police are sifting through photographs and film footage of the incident to see if Di Canio’s actions merit any criminal charge.
Italy’s football authorities are also expected to examine the evidence.
So what’s the big deal with this team? Due to this:
Lazio is the club forever associated with fascism. It was Mussolini’s team and he was often seen in the stands.
Elsewhere in the world, "fascist" is a lazy catch-all political insult, but in Italy it still carries a much heavier and more specific charge.
As one charitable observer – the Telecommunications Minister, and Roma supporter, Maurizio Gasparri – put it, Di Canio’s excitement clearly got the better of him.
"Poor lad," said the minister. "Like all Lazio supporters, he is just not used to winning."
Is he a winner or, by giving the salute, a….(you fill it in..)?