French soccer star Antoine Griezmann in heat for blackface photos

Antoine Griezmann
French foward - Antoine Griezmann, Photo by Biser Todorov, via Wikimedia Commons

Antoine Griezmann, an Atletico Madrid striker has made a public apology following his posting of a controversial image to his social media channels. In the image Griezmann is painted with dark skin wearing a NBA basketball costume that we wore for a 80’s themed fancy dress party.

The French soccer star seemed bewildered that his post was not taken as simply a joke. With the image posted to both Twitter and Instagram, Griezmann was bombarded with negative reactions from users around the world who took offence with the image.

The image, showing that Griezmann was clearly painted with something to make him appear African American was quickly labelled as an insensitive display of ‘blackface’. Blackface is the name given to when a white person paints themselves to appear African, usually to carry out an offensive stereotype.

Wearing the NBA attired of the Harlem Globetrotters and an afro wig, Griezmann stated his intention was to make a tribute to basketball legends of the past.

His posts were quickly met with a great deal of online abuse, with claims of racism and urging Griezmann to take down the images.

Griezmann initially seemed to want to defend his actions, stating that he was a fan of the “globetrotters and the good times” with his stunt being nothing more than a “tribute”.

After further backlash and having obviously received outside advice to remove the photos, the posts were deleted and Griezmann issued a subsequent apology on his Twitter profile.

This public relations disaster is one of the worst in recent soccer history and definitely the worst for Griezmann’s career. It is likely he will need to think twice about the content his posts on social media from now on.

This is especially important for maintaining the image of the French forward as he hopes to secure a possible $100 million transfer next year. Griezmann will need to hope that both Manchester United and Barcelona will continue to have favourable ties with him.

He was voted the world’s third best soccer player last year with rumours of him moving over the Manchester United. Since this incident some Man United fans have stated they did not want him to join the club.

Griezmann was not the only person in the sporting world to be accused of racism in a blackface scandal recently. Over the previous weekend an image showing a man in blackface mocking British Labour Politician Diane Abbot was shared to social media by Star Sports Bookmakers.

Like Griezmann, Star Sports Bookmakers had to quickly grovel in apology following a huge amount of online backlash.