FC Barcelona striker Griezmann was dropped by the Japanese gaming company amid racial allegations post a video leak.
The Japanese video game giant Konami, that is responsible for video games series like Pro Evolution Soccer, Silent Hill and Metal Gear, dropped Antoine Griezmann from its sponsorship list on Thursday. The Barcelona and French striker, who has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons, has come under criticism for a controversial video that had been leaked a few days ago. The video, which was recorded in 2019, sees teammates Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé mocking Japanese people.
The video, which was shot during Barcelona’s tour of Japan in 2019, has Dembélé and Griezmann mocking the Japanese technicians who had come to fix the Pro Evolution Soccer game in their hotel room. Dembélé, in the video, can be heard saying, ‘All these ugly faces, just so you can play PES, aren’t you ashamed?’ Dembélé proceeds further in the video to mock the Japanese language spoken by the technicians, stating ‘What kind of backward language is that? Are you technologically advanced in your country or not?’ Although Griezmann’s words are inaudible, the Barcelona striker is seen laughing throughout the video.
Konami, who had previously signed up Griezmann as the brand ambassador for its trading card game “Yu-Gi-Oh!”, also had a special card that was to be launched inspired by him – which now stands cancelled.
Konami released the following statement which announced the company’s decision to drop the Frenchman in light of the recent events:
“Konami Digital Entertainment feels, as is the philosophy of sports, that discrimination of any nature is unacceptable.
“We announced that Antoine Griezmann was becoming our Yu-Gi-Oh! content ambassador, but in light of recent events, we have decided to cancel the contract. In terms of our eFootball PES franchise, we ask that FC Barcelona, as a partner club, explains the details of this matter and its intended future actions.”
Griezmann and Dembélé both have released statements since the leak of the Snapchat video stating their regret and their stance on racism, with Griezmann posting on Twitter saying, “I have always been committed against any form of discrimination. For the past few days, some people have wanted to pass me off as the man I am not. I firmly refute the accusations made against me and I am sorry if I could offend my Japanese friends.”
Antoine Griezmann joined Barcelona two years ago from Atlético Madrid. He hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations that one would’ve expected of the Frenchman at Camp Nou, albeit injuries have hindered his progress. With 35 goals over two seasons, the Frenchman will look to make amends for his off-pitch deeds once the season gets underway.