Brazil’s Olympic Committee suspends volleyball player Wallace de Souza for death threats to Lula

File – Brazilian volleyball player Wallace De Souza in a match of his national team against Slovenia at the 2022 world championship. – LUKASZ LASKOWSKI / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

The Ethics Council of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) has decided this Friday to suspend the volleyball player Wallace de Souza, while the investigation of the case continues for his death threats on social networks to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

«Would you shoot Lula in the face?» de Souza asked his followers on Instagram on the eve of Lula’s inauguration on Jan. 1. After that, the club he competes for, Cruzeiro, decided to remove him from the team, while the Union’s Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation.

The account of the process, Judge Ney Bello, recalls that the freedom of expression of athletes does not differ from that attributed to any other citizen and therefore should not be confused with offenses and threats. «In times of social networks, dastardly and even criminal feelings surface and (…) it is not uncommon for them to derive disastrous consequences,» he has argued.

«Civil society, and above all the Olympic family, needs to distance itself from the violence and irrationality suggested by publications like that,» the magistrate has delved into the threats made by De Souza, a declared supporter of former president Jiar Bolsonaro.

«For this reason, Wallace Leandro de Souza must be suspended from all sporting activities in the COB system» – where the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation is located – «until the end of the proceedings,» he said.

Now Wallace, who has already published a video acknowledging his mistake and apologizing, has five days to appeal the decision, reports ‘O Globo’.