Fans, club and ex-players furious with 2 match ban handed to Roma’s Kevin Strootman

La Gazzetta dello Sport (Chiara Zucchelli) By 7pm, 2 hours after the court of sporting justice announced their decision, Kevin Strootman had been trending on Twitter for some time. People were talking on social media and on Roman radio stations, and for once (almost) everyone was in agreement: “Leave Kevin alone, there was no simulation”. According to Romanisti, the Dutchman’s collapse to the floor was “possibly excessive, but caused by the fact he felt he might be about to be hit from behind.” One guy on the radio accurately said that, “If he really wanted to simulate, he would have stayed on the ground, stone dead.”

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The main reason that Strootman’s suspension has made fans so angry is that, unless the club’s appeal is accepted, the Dutchman will miss the games against Milan and Juventus. All hell would break loose if that were to be the case – already, we have heard everything from “send the Primavera to Turin, it’s all already decided anyway” to “it was Lotito who got him banned”. The derby has already been forgotten about, all that matters to supporters now is #Strootman. Some, timidly, tried to suggest that “maybe Kevin overreacted, because to make him go to ground you’d have to shoot him”, but they were quickly shot down themselves by others. “Whoever doesn’t defend Strootman is a Lazio fan”, or even “you deserve a club that’s run by Moggi”.

Tempers are running high, and montages are starting to appear that have a photo of the Dutchman with “suspension” alongside a photo of a nasty foul by another team’s player (often a Juventus one) with “no suspension”. Meanwhile, outside of Rome, fans are divided. Some think that the suspension is “too much” while others are critical of the midfielder, nicknaming him “Strutman”, a mix of Strootman and Stuntman.

Former players are trying to restore a bit of order as, while they agree that Strootman’s suspension is “inexplicable”, they are being slightly more diplomatic in how they talk about it. “Roma need to make themselves heard, they’ve got all the ammunition they need for an appeal given that Cataldi himself was banned for grabbing his shirt,” Giuseppe Giannini said. Fabio Petruzzi, meanwhile, underlined Strootman’s form. “After finally getting himself fit and back into the Roma team, this suspension could destroy him. This decision is on the verge of departing from reality.” Marco Delvecchio added, “It makes no sense to me. He’s already been punished with a yellow card, why do they need to review the TV evidence? If they’ve banned him to make up for the red card given to Cataldi, then don’t ban either of them. You can’t stop Strootman from playing in these 2 matches.” One woman on Twitter also pointed out that “this runs the risk of Lulic being given the same punishment. We’re about to have insult added to injury.”

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