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Griezmann called Barcelona CEO Rakuten to apologize for alleged racism

The French star tried to heal the tension between the club and their shirt sponsors after videos emerged of mocking Asian people

Barcelona striker Antoine Griezmann called the club’s chief executive Rakuten to offer his apologies after videos of him mocking Asian people appeared online.

The French international was laughed at when teammate Ousmane Dembele insulted the staff who were there to fix the television in their hotel room. In another video, Griezmann is heard saying, “Ching chong.” The videos are from Barcelona’s pre – season tour of Japan in 2019.

Griezmann and Dembele responded to the accusations of racism after the videos were shared on social media over the past few days. The first said: “I refute the accusations against me and I am sorry if I insult my Japanese friends.”

What happened?

Purpose Griezmann tried to calm the tension between Barcelona and the Japanese company Rakuten by talking to Hiroshi Mikitani, founder and CEO.

The 30-year-old apologized to Mikitani for his actions despite being harshly criticized.

Barcelona discussed the issue with Griezmann and Dembele, and the club considers their actions unacceptable.

What did Mikitani say?

Griezmann’s call to Mikitani comes after the Rakuten chief expressed his indignation on Twitter.

“As a club sponsor and tour organizer, I’m very sorry that the FCB players made discriminatory remarks,” he said. “Since Rakuten endorses Barca’s philosophy and has sponsored the club, such statements are in no way unacceptable, and we will formally protest the club and seek their views.”

Rakuten are carrying € 30 million (£ 26 million / $ 35 million) as the club’s shirt sponsors this season following the renewal of their contract this summer.

Konami drops Griezmann

Meanwhile, video game company Konami has terminated Griezmann’s contract as a brand ambassador.

The former Atletico Madrid star had to promote Konami’s upcoming Pro Evolution Soccer match as well as the upcoming Yu-Gi-Oh! series.

“Konami Digital Entertainment believes, like the philosophy of sport, that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable,” the company said in a statement. “Previously, we announced Antoine Griezmann as our Yu-Gi-Oh! Content Ambassador, but in light of recent events, we have decided to cancel the contract.”

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