Barcelona duo Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele have both issued statements in response to allegations of racism after a video appeared on social media.
The two Barcelona players appear to mock Asian staff in the clip, which was recorded by Dembele, and were also captured laughing at a group of technicians who were trying to fix something in a hotel room.
Griezmann apologized for his behaviour in a post on Twitter. He wrote, “For the past few days, certain people have wanted to paint me as someone that I am not. I firmly refute the accusations made against me and I’m sorry if I have offended any of my Japanese friends.”
Dembele also took to social media and shared his thoughts on the issue in a post on Instagram. He wrote, “Hello all, during these last few days, a private video dating back to 2019 has been circulating on social media. It all took place in Japan. It could’ve taken place anywhere on the planet and I would’ve used the same expression,” he wrote. “I was therefore not targetting any community. I just happened to use this type of expression with my friends regardless of their origins. This video has since been made public. I appreciate therefore that it could’ve hurt the people present in these images. Because of this, I would like to sincerely apologise to them.”
The two players’ behavior has been widely criticized on social media since the footbage emerged over the weekend. Barca has not made any comment on the matter as yet.
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Dembele To Stay, Griezmann To Go?
The futures of both Dembele and Griezmann are a little uncertain following the end of the 2020-21 season. Both players represented France at Euro 2020, although Dembele’s tournament was cut short due to injury.
The forward has since undergoing surgery and has been ruled out of action for four months, meaning he will miss the start of the new La Liga campaign and is not expected back until November.
Dembele is out of contract in 2022 but his injury means he is now set to stay at the Camp Nou and sign a contract extension, according to Fernando Polo at Mundo Deportivo.
Griezmann’s situation is a little different but there’s no guarantee the Frenchman will stay at the Camp Nou. The 30-year-old is reportedly a target for Manchester City if the Citizens fail to land Tottenham’s Harry Kane, according to Diario Sport.
Barcelona’s financial problems mean Griezmann could be sacrificed as the Catalans need to trim the wage bill to be able to finance a new deal for Lionel Messi and still stay within La Liga’s salary cap.
The club has been busy already this summer offloading players with Matheus Fernandes, Jean-Clair Todibo, Konrad de la Fuente, and Francisco Trincao all having departed.
According to Marca, more players could leave this summer to free up space on the wage bill. Miralem Pjanic, Samuel Umtiti, and Philippe Coutinho could be next, while Martin Braithwaite, Clement Lenglet, and Carles Alena could also go.