Retired Formula One champion Nelson Piquet has been ordered by a Brazilian court to pay more than US$950,000 in “moral damages” for making racist and homophobic comments about Lewis Hamilton.
The 70-year-old Brazilian had referred to seven-time champion Hamilton as “neguinho,” a racially offensive term that means “little black guy,” in 2021. In another interview, Piquet used racist and homophobic language.
The court in Brasilia on Friday ordered Piquet to pay 5 million (US$952,998) reals “in collective moral damages, to be allocated to funds for the promotion of racial equality and against discrimination of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
The charges were filed by several human rights groups, including Brazil’s National LGBTI+ Alliance.
In its complaint, the human rights groups said that Piquet contravened the norm of human dignity enshrined in the country’s constitution.
The judge said that Piquet’s comments corresponded to the definition of racial discrimination outlined in Brazil’s 2010 Statute of Racial Equality.
Hamilton had condemned “archaic mindsets,” and the Mercedes driver said he had been “surrounded by these attitudes and targeted [my] whole life.”
He is the only black driver in F1 and received honorary citizenship from Brazil last year.
Piquet, who won three F1 titles in the 1980s, was discussing a crash between Hamilton and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen that took place during the British Grand Prix in 2021. His daughter Kelly Piquet is Verstappen’s girlfriend.
Piquet later apologized in a statement for the “ill thought out” racial term, but said it “is one that has widely and historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘guy’ or ‘person’ and was never intended to offend.”
In his decision, Judge Pedro Matos de Arruda said that “subtlety is one of the characteristics of contemporary Brazilian racism” and that the word is “not an affectionate nickname.”
Piquet had used racist and homophobic language in the other interview when discussing Hamilton missing out on a previous championship.
Piquet’s comments implied that if Hamilton had not been gay, “he would have won the championship... Therefore, being gay would be a negative characteristic,” the judge said in his decision.
The retired driver has the right to appeal the ruling.
Piquet had angered some F1 fans for his support of former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. He donated about US$95,000 to Bolsonaro’s failed re-election bid.
Taiwan’s Lin Chun-yi yesterday bowed out at the Malaysia Masters, defeated in the semi-finals a day after an epic quarter-final against the highest-ranked player left in the men’s singles draw. Lin lost to Weng Hongyang of China 21-13, 21-19 after a draining match against Japan’s Kodai Naraoka a day earlier in which the second game had 59 points. The 23-year-old left-hander had won his only previous BWF match against his Chinese opponent. However, Weng booked a place in today’s final after easing past the Taiwanese battler. He faces India’s H.S. Prannoy, who advanced when Indonesia’s Christian Adinata retired while trailing 19-17 in the
Taiwanese pool player Chou Chieh-yu on Sunday won the Wisconsin Women’s Open, shutting out Britain’s Allison Fisher in the final. Chou, 36, took home a prize of US$17,000 after beating Fisher, 55, in the three-set final of the 64-player 10-ball tournament. Chou found herself on the ropes after losing the first set 2-4, but rallied, winning the next two sets 4-2, 4-1 to take the title. In a post-game interview, Chou, who is also the reigning women’s WPA World 10-Ball Championship title holder, said the Wisconsin victory was beyond her expectations. It was her second consecutive win against the British pool titan this year.
CRYPTIC COMMENTS: James told a post-game news conference that ‘going forward with basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about,’ while ESPN reported that he was retiring Nikola Jokic on Monday outdueled LeBron James as the Denver Nuggets completed a 4-0 Western Conference championship sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Jokic bagged a 30-point triple-double as the Nuggets overturned a 15-point halftime deficit for a 113-111 victory that sent the Lakers crashing out and left James reportedly contemplating a shock retirement from basketball. James had looked to be single-handedly keeping the Lakers’ season alive after scoring 31 points in a magnificent first-half display that left the 17-time NBA champions leading 73-58 at
Reigning world champion Ding Liren and top-ranked Magnus Carlsen are to participate in next month’s inaugural franchise-based Global Chess League (GCL), organizers said yesterday. The tournament is to run from June 21 to July 2 in Dubai and feature six teams of six players each, including a minimum of two female players and an “icon” player per team. Carlsen and Ding are to join as two of six “icon” players, along with Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand and Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda. The final two names are to be confirmed at a later date, organizers said. “Global Chess League will be a great new event in