English tabloid, The Sun, has come under fire for promoting its coverage of England’s World Cup Round of 16 match against Colombia with a controversial front page headline.
The newspaper made implicit reference to Colombia’s drug trafficking problems with the line: “As 3 Lions face nation that gave world Shakira, great coffee and er, other stuff, we say … GO KANE!”
It’s an obvious play on words. “Go Kane” – a reference to star English striker Harry Kane, pictured on the front page – rhymes with “cocaine.” Colombia is the world’s leading producer of the drug.
That, of course, has nothing to do with football.
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Colombia’s ambassador to the UK, Nestor Osorio Londono, was one of many to point that out, and to criticise the newspaper.
“It’s rather sad that they use such a festive and friendly environment as the World Cup to target a country and continue to stigmatise it with a completely unrelated issue,” Osorio Londono said.
“Respect, fair play and joy for the game is all that matters tonight. We’ll be cheering for Colombia and hoping we can all enjoy a great match.”
Londono wasn’t the only one to speak up about the distasteful headline, with many punters taking to social media to slam the paper.
The cover of the @TheSun about Colombia is a disgrace… but true to form. It’s a paper not even worthy of being trampled on.
— Ramy Abbas Issa (@RamyCol) July 3, 2018
It'll get coverage abroad for its shock factor and many will think this is acceptable in the UK. Makes my blood boil. Everyone needs to know how much that rag is hated not just here but all over the country. It needs shutting down.
— Gray 🕊 (@GraemeMurphy85) July 3, 2018
This was The Sun's front page today.
Prepare yourself for a lot of headlines tomorrow using every negative stereotype you can think of, to describe the Colombian football team. pic.twitter.com/v73iiqjuC7
— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) July 3, 2018
"Sports have a way of making us put aside our differences, bringing the world together and– uh–"
"Just… Just do the 'go kane cocaine pun', Bob, we'll work out how racist it is afterwards." pic.twitter.com/Im1rMzjlfg
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) July 2, 2018
Wonder how Harry kane feels about the Go Kane headline. I'd imagine probably, er, not great for the brand overall …
— Barney Ronay (@barneyronay) July 3, 2018
Colombia’s illegal drug trade has torn the country apart over the past several decades.
It has been criticised, and justifiably so, by Colombian media, supporters, and people around the world. It’s provocation for the sake of provocation (and publicity).
Local Colombian media outlets slammed the headline, with broadcaster Caracol TV stating the front page “caused great upset” to locals.
— Harry Kane (@HKane) July 3, 2018
A spokesperson for The Sun said the front page was “suitably light-hearted considering the context”.
“Like the (Colombian) ambassador, we’re looking forward to a good game tonight against a great footballing nation.”
With FC Yahoo