Soccer star Mario Balotelli apologizes for Instagram post that has been criticized as racist and anti-Semitic
Balotelli uploaded a picture of the video game character Super Mario, with whom the Italy international shares a nickname, with text around the image including ‘jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew.’
By Bernie Augustine | NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Mario Balotelli was booked Tuesday for a social media post that’s been whistled offsides.
The Liverpool striker is facing an investigation by the English FA after he shared a photo on Instagram that’s been slammed as racist and anti-Semitic. The controversial photo shows Super Mario — the video game character that Balotelli shares a nickname with — leaping over a line of text that reads, “… jumps like a black man and grabs coin like a jew.”
“We are aware of it and we are looking into it,” the FA said Tuesday.
The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) said the incident “reinforces the need for continued education” for footballers who use social media. “The situation regarding Mario Balotelli’s Instagram post… highlights how vigilant players need to be in all of their dealings with social media,” the PFA said in a statement.
“We strongly condemn all discriminatory language used in any context. We are working with clubs and the FA to ensure players are aware of the impact of inappropriate and unacceptable language regardless of the forum.”
If charged by the FA, Balotelli faces a five-match ban from Liverpool, which faces Leicester City later on Tuesday.
Balotelli — who has been the subject of racial taunts while playing in Italy and England — tried to defend his post by saying, “My Mom is jewish so all of u shut up please.” Balotelli was born in Sicily to Ghanaian immigrants but was raised by Italian foster parents. He became an Italian citizen the day after his 18th birthday.
The 24-year-old eventually relented and deleted the post from his Instagram page, which has 2.1 million followers, and later issued an apology.
“I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour,” Balotelli wrote on Twitter. “Not all Mexicans have moustache, not all black people jump high and not all Jewish people love money.
“I used a cartoon by someone else because it has Super Mario and I thought it was funny and not offensive. Again, I’m sorry.”
The Super Mario meme appeared under the headline “Don’t be Racist!” in bright yellow type. Below that header it reads, “Be like Mario. He’s an Italian plumber, created by Japanese people, who speaks English and looks like a Mexican.”
— With News Wire Services