Ini­esta sorry as so­cial post sparks con­tro­versy

Sport360 - - News - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 ✉ ed­i­to­[email protected]

An­dres Ini­esta apol­o­gised af­ter post­ing a photo on so­cial me­dia with two peo­ple in black­face as part of Epiphany cel­e­bra­tions.

The Barcelona leg­end who cur­rently plays at Ja­pan’s Vis­sel Kobe had no in­ten­tion “to up­set any­one by dis­play­ing that photo,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by his agency sent to AFP on Wed­nes­day.

“He would like to apol­o­gise to those peo­ple who may have felt of­fended,” the state­ment said.

Ini­esta’s pic­ture on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram posted on Sun­day showed his fam­ily and a group of peo­ple in cos­tumes, tak­ing part in the Three Kings Day, an im­por­tant Chris­tian fes­tive tra­di­tion in Spain.

Large pa­rades and other fes­tiv­i­ties are held across Spain fea­tur­ing men dressed up as kings, with the role of Balt­hazar of­ten played by a white man – of­ten a city coun­cil­lor – in black makeup.

Madrid’s left­ist mayor Manuela Car­mena ended the tra­di­tion in the Span­ish cap­i­tal in 2016 and the city now em­ploys a black man to play the role in its Epiphany pa­rade.

Ini­esta, who won 32 ma­jor tro­phies and played 674 games for Barca, joined Vis­sel Kobe in May.

The Spain icon’s de­ci­sion to choose Vis­sel ar­guably rep­re­sents Ja­panese foot­ball’s big­gest trans­fer coup, with many top play­ers now mov­ing to cash-rich Chi­nese clubs in the twi­light of their ca­reers.

It also came as a timely boost to the J-League, which used to at­tract lu­mi­nar­ies such as Brazil­ian great Zico and for­mer Eng­land star Gary Lineker when it be­gan in 1993, but has strug­gled to at­tract mar­quee play­ers in re­cent years.

In De­cem­ber 2017 Atletico Madrid’s An­toine Griez­mann apol­o­gised af­ter re­ceiv­ing crit­i­cism on so­cial me­dia for post­ing a pic­ture of him­self on Twit­ter dressed as a Har­lem Glo­be­trot­ter, cov­ered in black paint and wear­ing a wig.

He [Ini­esta] would like to apol­o­gise to those who may have felt of­fended – State­ment

Back-track­ing: An­dres Ini­esta.

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