Famous Brazilian footballer Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, commonly known as Neymar, has been handed a three-match ban by the Disciplinary Committee of the French Football Federation for punching a fan, according to an announcement posted on the organisation’s website.
A video of this incident shows Neymar walking through the crowd along with his teammates to collect their 2nd place medals, when suddenly the footballer stops near a fan who was filming the players on a phone, and appears to punch him.
"I was wrong but I don't have cockroach blood", Neymar later said when commenting on his behaviour during the incident, with TMZ explaining that the saying the footballer used essentially means that "he won't back down from people when they cross a line".
Reacting to this development, a number of social media users argued that Neymar’s punishment should’ve been more severe, considering the nature of his transgression.
3 match ban?! For HITTING a fan.. That’s a joke. He should be banned for 6 months at Least— Chad Magee (@theonechadmagee) 10 мая 2019 г.
Disgusting! Imagine a player like Suarez or Diego Costa did this, french league scared to give him a heavy punishment in case he left and made the league irrelevant again— Lee Newlands (@Newlandz92) 10 мая 2019 г.
3 matches? So punching a fan is the same as a red card in a game now?— BB (@bb_th21) 10 мая 2019 г.
Too lenient.— GunnerMan (@EmmanuelNgwaogu) 10 мая 2019 г.
Some, however, appeared to take the footballer’s side.
He was reacting to himself and his teammates being racially abused by the fan he punched— Alex Candy (@AlexCandy97) 10 мая 2019 г.
PSG also seemed dissatisfied with the punishment and went on to contest the ban with the French Football Federation’s High Commission of Appeal
"Given the insults endured by several Paris players, including Neymar, at the end of the Coupe de France final, and the various elements submitted to the committee by Paris Saint-Germain in the player's defence, the club considers this sanction severe", the club said in a statement, as quoted by CNN.