The general manager of Barcelona’s main shirt sponsor said on Tuesday he wanted an explanation from the club after striker Ousmane Dembele apologized for making racist comments in a video circulating on social media.
Dembele, 24, offered his “sincere apologies” on Monday after a 42-second clip, which he appeared to have made on Snapchat in 2019, leaked and widely shared on the internet.
It shows Dembele, during Barca’s pre-season tour of Japan two years ago, talking to teammate Antoine Griezmann who is waiting for local techs to hook up a game console to a TV in their bedroom. hotel.
“As a sponsor of the club and host of the tour, I very much regret the discriminatory remarks made by FCB players. Rakuten has been a sponsor of the club, praising Barca’s philosophy, ”said CEO of Japanese electronics company Rakuten Hiroshi Mikitani. tweeted.
“Such remarks can in no way be acceptable. I will officially file our protest with the club and seek its opinion, ”he added.
As of 2017, Rakuten has paid 55 million ($ 64.96 million) euros per year to appear on the front of Barca’s shirt and has extended his contract until next season.
Dembele, who is recovering from surgery after injuring his knee in France’s second group game at Euro 2020, said he regrets the incident.
“Recently, a private video from 2019 is circulating on social networks. In this case, it is in Japan – it could have been anywhere on the planet and I would have used the same expressions. I was not targeting any community, ”he added. he said on Instagram.
“The video is now made public – I understand how this may have impacted the people in these images and as such I offer my sincere apologies. “
Griezmann, who was also in hot water three years ago for appearing in blackface and dressed as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters for a party, said on Monday he had always opposed “any form of discrimination “.
He also apologized and insisted, “I’m sorry if I offended my Japanese friends. “
© 2021 AFP