Respect this week pays tribute to Jozy Altidore.
For those of you who don’t know the AZ Alkmaar striker, he is of Haitian descent and after the earthquake that decimated the Caribbean country in 2010 he offered his assistance.
He joined the relief effort by asking people to donate to the Yéle Haiti appeal, also appearing on television to discuss the effect of the earthquake on the people, and to talk about his family members still living there.
Born in New Jersey and a USA international, the school shooting in Conneticut six weeks ago also had a profound effect on the 23-year-old. Altidore paid tribute to the 26 victims by wearing their names on his cleats during a game against FC Twente.
Clearly an honourable man, so what did the fans of Dutch side Den Bosch do when he played against them last weekend? They directed monkey chants towards him forcing referee Reinold Wiedemeijer to act.
The official wanted to stop the match in the first-half but Altidore decided it should continue. The match was halted in the second-half after fans ignored warnings to stop the racist chanting aimed at Altidore, and some threw snowballs, ice and other objects at an assistant referee.
Altidore went on to score from the spot in a 5-0 win but instead of rounding on his abusers he offered prayer.
“I feel like I have an obligation as a football player, to my club, to my family, to not react to things like this and to show that the club stands better than that, that I was raised better than to respond to such ridiculous behaviour,” said Altidore, who played in the Premier League at Hull in the 2009/10 season.
“All I can do is pray for them and hope they become better people. I’m not going to fight them. They just have some issues and they need some help.”
Officials at FC Den Bosch apologised for the behaviour of their fans hinting that those found guilty will be banned for life.
Den Bosch director Peter Bijvelds, who himself appealed to the crowd at half-time for the abuse to stop, said: “FC Den Bosch will, aided by all those people who do good for their club, do everything in their power in the coming period to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“They do not belong in De Vliert (the Den Bosch stadium) and will have the most severe sanctions imposed on them.”
Tags: AZ Alkmaar, Den Bosch, Jozy Altidore, RESPECT, USA