Mario Balotelli has apologised for an Instagram post that provoked accusations of racism and ant-semitism.
The Liverpool striker posted a picture of Nintendo character Super Mario which included the caption “jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a jew.” He quickly deleted the message, before tweeting, “my Mom is jewish so all of u shut up please”.
Balotelli issued a public apology this Tuesday on Twitter after the Football Association confirmed they were looking into the original Instagram post.
I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour. I now understand that (…) pic.twitter.com/UlNeNlEz9M
— Mario Balotelli (@FinallyMario) December 2, 2014
“I apologize if I’ve offended anyone,” the message read. “The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour.
“I now understand that out of context may have the opposite effect. Not all mexicans have moustache, not all black people jump high and not all Jewish people love money,” Balotelli’s message continued.
“I used a cartoon done by someone else because it has Super Mario and I thought it was funny and not offensive. Again, I’m sorry.”
The photo meme originally came from social media community The LAD Bible, and was reposted by Balotelli.
Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker called the striker “extremely naive” to have reposted the photo.
I very much doubt Balotelli’s retweet was deliberately racist or anti-Semitic on his behalf. Just extremely naive.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 2, 2014
In September this year police investigated racist abuse sent to the 24-year-old striker following a match between Manchester United and Leicester City. He had tweeted “Man Utd…LOL” after the club lost 5-3 to Leicester, and received a string of offensive messages in response.