Nathan Ake speaks about Dutch fans' Ruud Gullit blackface

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Nathan Ake speaks about Dutch fans' Ruud Gullit blackface
Photo: Kacper Pempel/REUTERS
Nathan Ake has offered his honest thoughts about Netherlands supporters who painted their faces to resemble Dutch footballing legend Ruud Gullit.

The Netherlands fought back from a goal down to beat Poland 2-1 in their Group D opener last Sunday, ending the first round of fixtures ahead of France at the summit.

However, somewhat of a sour taste has been left after a group of Netherlands fans were pictured with painted faces and wigs in their attempts to dress as Gullit.

The practice of "blackfacing" - when someone paints their face darker to resemble a black person - has been present for around two centuries and is viewed as racist and highly offensive to many people.

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It's particularly the subject of controversy in the Netherlands due to the nation's Christmas character "Zwarte Piet", which translates to "Black Pete".

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

The tradition itself is an annual source of debate in the Netherlands, with critics and protesters calling the character a racist throwback to the colonial era.

Therefore, the presence of supporters performing a similar practice in the stands of the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg, albeit to pay respect to one of their country's greatest football icons, wasn't received well.

Asked about the situation ahead of the Netherlands' 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 honour too. Let's stop making a problem out of things like this.

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