— Published 3 May 2023

Olympic champion suspended for five years

No clemency for Wallace Leandro de Souza (pictured above). The volleyball player, Olympic champion at the Rio 2016 Games, was suspended for five years by the Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC) for inciting violence against the head of state, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. At issue was an image of the Brazilian striker posted in late January on his Instagram account, showing him in a shooting range, accompanied by a caption where he asked his 350,000 followers if they would be willing to shoot Lula. Initially suspended for 90 days, Wallace was granted the right to play in the Brazilian Superliga final on April 30, after taking his case to the Volleyball Court of Justice (STJDV) and winning. But the COB’s ethics committee did not want to close the case. Believing that the authorization issued by the court was not legitimate, it decided to increase the penalty and raise it to five years. “He played freely while suspended for an anti-ethical act, inciting violence on social networks, suggesting that we shoot the president,” ruled the ethics committee. The Brazilian government had also requested, in January, criminal sanctions against Wallace, who apologized a few days after his publication on Instagram. The 35-year-old double Olympic medalist (silver in 2012, gold in 2016) openly supports the far-right ex-president, Jair Bolsonaro, who was defeated by Lula in the last presidential elections.