A Serbian Volleyball player was caught doing the slant eye gesture toward the Thai team during the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Nationals League match in Italy on Tuesday. According to Yahoo, Sanja Djurdjevic apologized after mounting backlash against her.
“I am aware of my mistake and I immediately after the match apologized to the whole Thailand team,” Sanja Djurdjevic said on social media. “I only wanted to address my teammates with the message: ‘now, we will start playing defense like them’, I didn’t mean to disrespect anyone. Of course, it was unfortunate and not so smart gesture from my side. I want to apologize one more time to all people all over the world who are offended by this. Big thanks to the Thailand team for understanding.”
Sanja Djurdjevic นักวอลเลย์บอลทีมชาติเซอร์เบียบอกว่าที่เอามือไปดึงตาให้เฉียง ๆ เพราะต้องการบอกเพื่อนว่าต้องเล่นรับให้ดีแบบทีมไทย ไม่ได้ตั้งใจดูหมิ่นหรืออะไร โชคไม่ดี (unfortunate) แล้วเป็นการกระทำที่ไม่ฉลาด ขอโทษทีมไทยและคนทั่วโลก ขอบคุณทีมไทยที่เข้าใจ— Ryn J. (@Ryn_writes) June 1, 2021
Credit @taramayatara pic.twitter.com/nS1eWkhMxH
Consequently, one of the Thai players, Pleumjit Thinkaw posted a forgiving message along with Sanja Djurdjevic.
Interestingly enough, the Volleyball Federation of Serbia apologized but asked the public to not blow the incident out of proportion.
“We apologize sincerely to the Thailand team, people of Thailand and to all of you affected by this,” it said. “But, please, don’t blow this out of proportion! Sanja is aware of her mistake and she immediately apologized to the whole Thailand team. She only wanted to show her teammates “let’s start playing defense like them now”, she didn’t mean any disrespect.”
Not surprisingly people were not happy with the apology. The critics dug up a 2017 picture of the Serbian women’s volleyball team pulling their eyes back taken after a victory that was posted on their official website.
The critics are looking for the team to be formally punished for breaking the code of ethics.