Many volleyball fans have recently called out the two players of the Belgian National Team Yellow Tigers for their racist “slant eyes” gesture that they posted online before their first stop in China for the Volleyball Nations League tournament last week.
While at the airport last week on their way to China, setter (#17) Ilka Van de Vyver posted a picture online showing her teammate, middle blocker (#04) Nathalie Lemmens, doing the offensive gesture with the caption “on the road to” followed by a Chinese flag and a Japanese flag, Vollywood reported.
Belgian Yellow Tigers’ setter and middle blocker eventually apologized by posting a couple of photos soon after their first picture attracted outrage from many Chinese volleyball fans.
Both of them then shared photos with their hands forming the shape of a heart. In 23-year-old Lemmens’ picture, the caption reads, “We apologize. We didn’t want to harm,” while Vyver, who has been playing for the team since 2010, wrote “We apologize. We love China.”
After the backlash, both Lemmens and Vyver set their Instagram to private. The Belgian Yellow Tigers and Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) have yet to officially address what these Belgian players did.
Some fans were furious over the images, taking to Reddit to post their dismay:
“These people are so disrespectful.”
“If they go to Africa, would they puff up their cheeks and pull their ears? Like in what world, would they think this would be acceptable?”
“Apologize to the people, not the country. I couldn’t care less if you love our hate China.”
“They should be banned from ever competing in Asia.”