Netherlands defender Nathan Ake supports fans painted like Rudd Gullit

Netherlands defender Nathan Ake supports fans painted like Rudd Gullit

Nathan Ake has hit back at critics of Netherlands supporters who were accused of doing ‘blackface’ in their attempts to dress up as Dutch footballing legend Ruud Gullit. 

A group of fans were pictured with painted faces and wigs during Sunday’s Euro 2024 opener against Poland.

The Dutch came from behind to win 2-1 but a sour taste was left due to the controversy surrounding their costumes.

Blackface is a historical practice that dates back around 200 years. It’s seen as racist and many people find it deeply offensive.

It commonly refers to when someone (typically with white skin) paints their face darker to resemble a black person.

Nathan Ake addressed the controversy at Thursday’s pre-match press conference 

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Asked about the situation ahead of his side’s showdown with France on Friday, Ake said: ‘I don’t see a problem. 

‘Can I be honest here? These topics are getting out of hand, we should be allowing things like this to happen. 

‘Ruud Gullit already said he finds it an honor too. Let’s stop making a problem out of things like this.’ 

Blackface is a particularly controversial issue in Netherlands, where the tradition of Christmas character Black Pete causes much division.

The presence of ‘Zwarte Piet’ at Christmas festivals and on television is an annual source of debate in the Netherlands, with critics and protesters calling the character a racist throwback to the colonial era.

He has traditionally been played by white actors in blackface, wearing a curly afro-style wig and red lipstick.

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