The beautiful game that we cherish as futbolrs provides us with valuable lessons; sometimes, tragedies are also a part of this complex, beautiful game that we all share. And these tragedies in itself speak on a much greater narrative in regards to the way our societies and communities interact with one another. This past year we saw the movement of athletes empowering others to speak up and have a meaningful voice in social injustice, in communities, and in mental health. For the football community there is more work to be done, and the loss of Seid Visin only reinforces the amount of work that is needed to truly make this game an all-inclusive family. This week’s newsletter pays tribute to the loss of 20 year old adopted Ethiopian-Italian futbolr Seid Visin who struggled with the demons of mental illness. Taking his own life, the former Milan Primavera academy talent was a rising star in the ranks of Italian football before finally withdrawing from his dreams back in 2016-2017. Nevertheless, the young futbolr was a member of the local 5-a-side team Atletico Vitalica and continued to play the game up until his death. The Milan community and his hometown, Nocera Inferiore, were left visibly shook and distraught to the tragic loss of one of their own. The Milan Primavera academy expressed their condolences on Twitter stating that “There are no right words to say goodbye to a 20-year-old boy." While there was no suicide note left, one letter back in 2019 penned by Visin gives a glimpse of his struggles as a third cultured child living in Italy – someone who experiences and lives in multiple cultures based on one’s ethnic and national background. Visin expresses his concern in this intimate excerpt of his letter shown below at time when the European migration crisis drew massive divisions in Italian society:
“Before this great migratory flow, I remember with a little arrogance that everyone loved me. Wherever I was, wherever I went, wherever I was, everyone turned to me with greatness joy, respect and curiosity. Now, however, this atmosphere of idyllic peace seems so distant; it seems that everything has mystically turned upside down, it seems to my eyes that winter has fallen with extreme impetuosity and vehemence, without warning, during a clear spring day. Now, wherever I go, wherever I am, wherever I am feel on my shoulders, like a boulder, the weight of skeptical, prejudiced glances, disgusted and afraid of people.”
While media speculation suggests that Seid Visin died due to being
a victim of racism and therefore identifying the case as a hate crime, his adoptive father -- Walter Visin – has actively refuted these claims stating on his personal Facebook that “the reason for his tragic gesture remains incomprehensible to us too, that's why we ask for a reservation in such a difficult time.” His father recalled Seid being a loving member of his community where he was constantly surrounded by caring friends and family. This perception of Seid Visin only raised more eyebrows as to how such a promising lovable young man made an extremely overwhelming life-taking decision. While his father has refuted claims of a direct racial incident, the mourning man did make admission to his lost son’s advocacy for combatting discrimination on and off the pitch. Visin’s loss ignited a conversation in Italy with professional players like ex-Juve midfield maestro Claudio Marchisio and Former Speaker of the Italian Chamber Laura Boldrini expressing their condolences to the Visin family while also bringing awareness to the discrimination that is at hand across Italy, across Europe – across the entire world.
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