By Michael Place
RIO DE JANEIRO, March 12 (Xinhua) -- World Cup winner Lilian Thuram says players are partly responsible for continued racism in football.
In Rio as a speaker for the Programa Africa Hoje anti-racism campaign, Thuram admitted he was dismayed by a spate of recent incidents in Brazil.
"When all players decide to walk off the pitch because of racist abuse, the situation might improve," the former France defender said.
"Why does a player decide to stay on the pitch when a colleague is the target of racism? That player also needs to be questioned because he also has his share of responsibility for this type of problem."
Last week former Brazil international Arouca was racially abused by a fan while playing for Santos against Mogi Mirim in the Sao Paulo state championship.
The incident came a week after racist chants were directed at referee Marcio Chagas da Silva during the Rio de Janeiro state championship match between Esportivo and Veranopolis.
And last month Cruzeiro midfielder Tinga, also a former Brazil international, was subjected to monkey chants by Real Garcilaso fans during a Copa Libertadores match in Peru.
"Racism in football mirrors racism in society," Thuram said. "What is worse: being abused on a football pitch or missing out on a job for being black? It's hypocrisy to associate racism only with football."
Thuram, 42, won 142 international caps for France and was part of the Les Bleus' 1998 World Cup triumph.
He retired in 2008 after being diagnosed with a heart condition.