One of the most important male volleyball players in Brazil in the 21st century, Wallace Souza, went too far with his post on social media.
The Olympic champion with the Brazil National Team in Rio, Wallace, posted a poll on Instagram last night, asking, “Would you shoot Lula in the face with this 12?“ The post, aimed at the newly-elected president of his country, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was later deleted, and Wallace regretted it.
The 36-year-old opposite hitter, who defends the colors of Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei this season, initially posted a photo with the shotgun, a 12-caliber rifle, and opened a comments box to interact with his followers. One of the followers asked, “Would you shoot Lula in the face with this 12?“ That’s when Wallace created a poll, asking, “Would anyone do that?“ and ended it with an angel smile.
The post was criticized by the chief minister of the Social Communication Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic, who said that he has already activated the AGU (Advocacia-Geral da União – The Attorney General’s Office) and that all necessary measures will be taken as “we won’t tolerate threats made by extremists and coup plotters!“
“It ended up generating a very bad social repercussion. Anyone who knows me very well knows that I’d never incite violence under any circumstances against anyone, especially our president. So I come here to apologize. It was an unfortunate post that I ended up making; I made a mistake, and I’m here apologizing because, when you make a mistake, there’s no way out; you have to accept the mistake and apologize. I never intended to incite violence or hatred; it’s not my style. That’s not what the sport taught me, and that’s not what I want to pass on to anyone,“ the Best Opposite Spiker of the 2016 Rio Olympics and MVP of the 2021 FIVB VNL said in a video message on Instagram.
Cruzeiro (the club linked to the mayor of the municipality of Betim, where it is located, a strong supporter of former president Jair Bolsonaro, who was defeated by Lula in the last elections) stated in a statement that they deeply regretted Wallace’s publication and its content. Cruzeiro stated that they’ll continue to inform staff and players about the importance and responsibility of using social and digital media.
The Brazilian federation (CBV) also reacted to Wallace’s post, saying that it “repudiates any type of violence or incitement to violent acts and understands that sport is a tool for propagating values such as respect, tolerance, and equality.“