(Reuters) – Chilean defender Gonzalo Jara, widely remembered for sticking his finger up Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani’s backside at the 2015 Copa America, has become the face of a campaign to promote prostate testing for cancer prevention in his country.
Images of the centre-back went viral eight years ago as he grabbed Cavani’s backside and stuck his finger up it during the Copa America’s quarter-final clash between Chile and Uruguay.
Jara’s gesture, dubbed “the finger of god”, earned him a three-match suspension, which ruled him out from the rest of the tournament. His country went on to win the title by defeating Argentina in the final.
His unforgettable action is now being used as part of TNT Sports Chile’s “Get your prostate checked, champion” campaign to raise awareness among spectators of next month’s derby between Universidad de Chile and Colo Colo.
Jara, a former player for both teams, now appears on a website where the public can register an over-45-year-old supporter of one of these clubs to obtain a free prostate antigen test.
“I’ve been dodging the finger issue for eight years, but now that the Superclasico is coming up, the time has come,” says Jara in a promotional video of the campaign announcing Sept. 3 as the National Prostatic Testing Day.
Francisca Mora, Marketing Manager of Warner Bros. Discovery, added: “Almost 70% of our viewers are men, and a significant number are over 45 years old.
“With that in mind, and to take care of an important member of this great football family, we take advantage of this Superclasico to make a call for prevention and self-care of prostate cancer.”
According to Dr Bruno Nervi, president of the Chile Sin Cancer Foundation – also taking part in the campaign – 40% of prostate cancer diagnoses are made in a late stage, leading to more than 2,000 deaths a year in the country.
The 37-year-old Jara has won 115 international caps and is with Coquimbo in Chile’s top flight after stints in England, Germany, Argentina and Mexico.
(Reporting by Janina Nuno Rios in Mexico City, editing by Pritha Sarkar)