Posted: Thursday May 23, 2013 3:08 AM

Ocean not all that separates US, European fans

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Two weeks ago, a game between Roma and AC Milan in Italy's top soccer league was halted for almost two minutes after black Milan players were subjected to horrific racial abuse.

It's a scene a U.S. fan almost can't fathom, despite this country's long and painful struggle for racial tolerance.

But as passionate as Americans are about their sports, there are fundamental differences in how fans here and the rest of the world come by their loyalties that help explain why bigotry can exist so publicly in one place and not another. Ideology and economics play a part. So, too, the vast number of teams Americans have the option to support. Even those annoying T-shirt giveaways during timeouts have helped soften American behavior.

Meanwhile, European soccer's governing body will ask its 53 members on Friday to adopt a series of sanctions aimed at curtailing racism.
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