The controversial photo montage in the Brazilian sports magazine “Placar” of Neymar, a rising star of Brazilian football, has been labeled “shameful and disgraceful” according to the Agenzia Fides, by the Bishops of Brazil. The magazine depicts Neymar on the cross with an expression of pain on his face, his hands and feet bleeding. The title “The Crucifixion of Neymar” refers to Neymar’s nickname “Cai-cai” (“fall-fall”) given to him by sports critics for the frequency with which he falls into the penalty area to earn fouls.
The Bishops’ note, signed by the Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference, Mgr. Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, recognizes “freedom of expression, a fundamental principle of the democratic state” but indicates “limits on the exercise of this principle.” He emphasizes also the insensitivity with respect to the global situation after the violence caused “by the misuse of religious figures.”
The striker Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, 20 years old, led his team, Santos, to win the “Recopa Sudamericana.” When Santos won the Paulista Championship in May last year, he honored it by wearing a headband with the inscription “100% Jesus.” The player claims to pay part of his large salary to the Evangelical Church.