Lazio Falconer Suspended by the Club for Making Fascist Gestures

One of the recent traditions of Italian football might go on a hiatus for a while. Juan Bernabè, who handles Olimpia, the eagle that flies during Lazio home games, has been suspended for making fascist gestures.

Lazio specified that the man is not a direct employee, as he is under contract with an outside company. Bernabè was caught on camera making the typical Roman salute and shouting “Dux, Dux” towards the screaming fans. The Spanish-born hawker has been managing the animal since the 2010-2011 season.

Lazio issued a statement: “We have sent a letter to all our external providers in recent weeks to invite them to abide by the ethical code and maintain a behavior fully respectful of the values that always inspired this team, both on the pitch and outside of it. We emphasized the complete ban of discriminatory actions against all the profiles protected by Article Three of the Italian Constitution. Having seen a video picturing Juan Bernabè in attitudes that offend the club, the fans, and such values, we immediately took action to suspend the service and eventually terminate the current contracts.”

The images, which stem from the recent Lazio win over Inter, caused widespread outrage. Noemi Segni, the president of the Union of the Jewish Communities declared: “There must not be any ambiguity or uncertainty in front of the ostentation of gestures and symbols that evoke fascist ideals. The behavior of the falconer leaves no room for interpretation. We must remove every form of hate from football.”