Brazilian-born Barcelona defender Daniel Alves said Sunday he wanted some leniency for the Spanish fan banned for throwing a banana near him during a game.
"There does have to be a punishment, but I don't believe in paying evil with evil," Alves told broadcaster Globo.
"People have to educate. You can't do it in this way," said Alves, after Liga outfit Villarreal last week handed a life ban to the fan who threw the fruit.
Alves won widespread credit for his cool response -- he simply peeled the fruit and ate it before taking a corner.
The response won acclaim, with even Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff tweeting her admiration for "a daring and strong response" to an incidence of racism.
"It is the strong who forgive," Alves said.
He indicated he would be unhappy to see the 26-year-old banana thrower, David Campayo, lose his livelihood if sentenced to jail time.
"He is a family man and has to support his family by some means," Alves told a Globo reporter in Barcelona.
His response, an attempted "intelligent response to a attack," came after just one of several incidents with racist overtones at Spanish matches recently.
Sunday saw another, with Levante's Senegalese midfielder Pape Diop saying he had been the subject of monkey chanting by Atletico Madrid fans.
After the Alves incident fellow athletes, including Brazil star and Barca teammate Neymar, posted pictures of themselves chomping bananas on social media sites.
The incident has since dominated media discussion in Brazil, while Neymar's PR firm launched a "We Are All Monkeys" social media initiative to slam racism in sport.