Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has condemned a racial slur used by a journalist at Spanish outlet ABC that compared his teammate Ansu Fati to a “young black street vendor”.
Spanish journalist Salvador Sostres wrote the slur within his report for ABC following Barcelona’s 5-1 victory over Ferencvaros on Tuesday, which has triggered a fierce backlash over why he felt it acceptable to make the racially-motivated comparison and how the phrase was not picked up on by his editors.
It also prompted a strong response from French international Griezmann, who posted the report on his Twitter account and directly criticised Mr Sostres.
Writing in Spanish, Mr Sostres said: “Ansu running has something of a gazelle, of a very young and black street vendor that you suddenly see running along Paseo de Gracia (a major avenue in Barcelona) when someone shouting ‘Water, water’ announced that the Guardia Urbana (police) had arrived.
“Wild pictures in the heart of the city. Now this does not happen, because, for (Barcelona mayor) Ada Colau, the criminals are the police and not the street sellers, who no longer have to run away. It is also true that without tourists, business is rather weak.”
The passage was quickly posted and condemned on Twitter, where griezmann added his reaction to his out at the clear lack of respect shown to the 17-year-old Spain international.
“Ansu is an exceptional boy who deserves respect like any human being,” Griezmann said. “No to racism and no to bad education.”
ABC have issued a statement in which Mr Sostres attempted to clarify that his comment was not intended to be racially offensive and was supposed to be a compliment, although he did apologise “for the misunderstanding”.
A statement issued by ABC read: “Given the uproar caused by a comment made by Salvador Sostres in relation to the Barcelona player Ansu Fati in the report of Barcelona’s last game, the author wishes to communicate the following.”
Mr Sostres said: “In my report about Barcelona’s match against Ferencvaros, in my desire to praise the beauty of Ansu’s movements, and his class as a very young player, some expressions were taken as racist contempt.
“Nothing is further from my intention, nor from my opinion. I’m very favorable to the player as I have expressed in all my reports since he debuted. I am deeply sorry for the misunderstanding and I apologise to anyone who may have been offended.”
The Guinea-Bissau-born winger moved to Spain at the age of six, where he made his way through the Herrera and Sevilla academies before joining Barcelona in 2012 at the age of 10. Fati is one of the brightest young talents in Ronald Koeman’s squad, having already amassed 10 goals in 28 La Liga appearances that has helped to win four international appearances despite his tender years.
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