By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
We like to say and write that politics and sports should not be mixed but that’s not the usual case. That was proven once more in the game between Zalgiris Kaunas and Crvena Zvezda. On a night which was dedicated to team legend Paulius Jankunas who played his last EuroLeague game, the end result left a bitter taste to everyone.
The Serbs didn’t want to hold a banner with the message “stop war” in Ukraine’s colors before the start of the game creating an uproar by Lithuanian fans and also on social media.
— Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) April 3, 2022
However, as Zvezda captain Luka Mitrovic tweeted and local journalist Marius Milasius reported, the players of Zvezda were greeted with a NATO flag. Back in 1999, NATO carried out an aerial bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War.
— Luka Mitrović (@mitar_mitar9) April 3, 2022
“I really hope that peace will come soon. That’s it,” Crvena Zvezda’s Montenegrin coach Dejan Radonjic said after the game.
Slovenian Jure Zdovc, the head coach of Zalgiris added: “It’s not for me to comment. It’s still sports. Everybody has their own opinion. However, I believe it’s not their personal opinion. It comes from the top on what needs to be done. I want to add that these provocations helped us in the first half, but in the second half, they got extra motivated”.
And Zvezda’s big man Aaron White confirmed via twitter Zdovc’s opinion.
As a team we were told to not touch the flag. I would like to make it clear I don’t support the war and I want peace in our world ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/cD3t9YlTIk
— Aaron White (@Aaron_White30) April 3, 2022