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Nathan Ake becomes first Dutch player to comment on fans doing 'blackface' to impersonate Ruud Gullit

Nathan Ake becomes first Dutch player to comment on fans doing 'blackface' to impersonate Ruud Gullit

Nathan Ake has responded after three Netherlands fans courted controversy for impersonating Ruud Gullit at Euro 2024.

Nathan Ake has become the first Dutch player to address Netherlands fans impersonating Ruud Gullit by doing "blackface".

Ronald Koeman's side came from behind to beat Poland in their Euro 2024 opener on Sunday, with former Manchester United striker Wout Weghorst coming off the bench to score the winner.

But a huge talking point coming off the back of the win in Hamburg involved a trio of Dutch supporters who dressed up as legendary midfielder Gullit.

Wearing retro orange shirts from the 1988 Euros win, the three fans painted their faces black and had dreadlocks and a moustache.

The group were accused of 'blackface', the practice of wearing dark make-up to imitate a black person

It dates back to the 19th century and is seen as incredibly offensive and racist by many.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

In the Netherlands, there is a character in Christmas shows called Zwarte Piet', which translates to 'Black Pete' and typically sees white actors paint their faces black and sport lipstick and an afro.

The actions of the fans caused a huge backlash but according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Gullit was not offended and reportedly said he felt "honoured".

Man City defender Ake was asked about the supporters painting their faces black in the press conference prior to the game against France and stated that there was a huge overreaction.

He 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."

Bart van de Ven, one of the fans involved, has reportedly done the same at a number of major tournaments.

However, he has told Dutch news he will stop dressing up as Gullit to avoid "a certain unpleasant association" as "the last thing I want to do is hurt people".

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Featured Image Credit: Getty & ESPN

Topics: Nathan Ake, Netherlands, Euro 2024