Mario Balotelli hashes it up on Instagram.
What he said:
“Not all Mexicans have a moustache, not all black people jump high and not all Jewish people love money.”
Irreverent Italian striker Mario Balotelli is in the news again for all the wrong reasons.
The Liverpool forward stirred up some soup for himself with a controversial post on Instagram.
Balotelli was quick to delete his post in the face of a barrage of on-line and offline criticism.
And was even quicker to attempt damage control.
His first tweeted response:
( my Mom is jewish so all of u shut up please)—
Mario Balotelli (@FinallyMario) December 01, 2014
He followed it with:
I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour. I now understand that (...) http://t.co/UlNeNlEz9M—
Mario Balotelli (@FinallyMario) December 02, 2014
Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out has forwarded the offending post to the Football Association. FA has set a deadline of 18:00 GMT Friday the 12th for the Italian to provide a cogent defence for his anti-Semitic remark.
Speaking to BBC, a Liverpool spokesman said:
“We are aware of the posting which has since been promptly deleted by the player. We will be speaking to the player about the issue.”
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said:
“I don’t know hardly anything about it, I have been busy getting the team ready for this game.
I will probably find out more about it.”
Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Simon Johnson, a former FA executive, said:
“We abhor all forms of racism, wherever it is found. We call upon the FA to investigate this offensive social media post and to take action if appropriate if we are to succeed in kicking racism out of football.”
Sports media trainer Alec Wilkinson added his bit:
“There are those that are famous, earn lots of money, with a sky-high profile, who think ‘What can you teach me? I can say what I like, it won’t damage me. We spend a lot of time explaining to them it’s good for them to take the pressure off themselves, to understand how the media works, how you can offend people.”
What Balotelli really meant:
“You know something, I suddenly realized that stereotypes, racial or not, are funny only until they’re not. Now the joke’s on Finally Mario.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I’m going to grow a moustache, play basketball instead and take a pay cut.”