On Tuesday, Maurizio Sarri said something horrible to Roberto Mancini at the end of the match between Napoli and Inter Milan. How horrible it was is, apparently, up for debate, but one thing is certain: it absolutely incensed Mancini, winding up with the Inter boss getting tossed from the match and going off on Sarri in the media for the last two days over it.
Now the FIGC and Lega Serie A have looked at the situation and had their say, and their decision is thus -- Sarri has been suspended for two Coppa Italia matches, and fined €20,000. Mancini was fined €5,000 for leaving his technical area and being disrespectful to the fourth official when he reacted to Sarri.
The ban will, obviously, not take effect until next season as Napoli were eliminated from the Coppa Italia by Inter. It could have been much, much worse, too. By the rules of the Lega Serie A -- which oversees the management of the Coppa as a competition -- Sarri could have been banned for two or even up to four months considering what he said. While the Lega disciplinary committee agreed that Sarri "directed extremely insulting epithets" at Mancini by calling him a f****t, the fact that Mancini himself is not gay left it short of the kind of "hate speech" qualifiers necessary for the longer suspension.
Napoli have reportedly decided not to appeal the suspension, but are celebrating the Lega decision as a vindication of sorts for Sarri, saying that the lighter suspension "formally confirms" that Sarri's remarks were free of any homophobia or discrimination. Given the wording of the Lega statement and their reported reasoning behind it, though, it's hard to see Napoli's statement as strictly true.
In the end, the suspension will likely be seen as too heavy by most Napoli fans -- despite not impacting Napoli's current Serie A campaign -- and seen as far too light by fans of other teams. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but now that the punishment has been handed down, it is what it is and we can do nothing about it.
All that said, what Sarri said is something that there is no room for. Whether Sarri meant the full connotation of the word or not, it's one filled with meanings of hatred and persecution, and the meanings of words are felt whether intended or not. Just because "worse things are said on the pitch" or "it's not the same in Italy" doesn't make it OK. Hell, the fact that those "excuses" are true isn't remotely OK either. Sarri should never have said that, heat of the moment or otherwise, and now he must deal with the consequences -- and the inevitable loss of respect that many will have for him after this.