Konami Cuts Ties With Soccer Player After Racism Debacle

MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 15: Antoine Griezmann of France celebrates after winning the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between France and Germany at Allianz Arena on June 15, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Markus Gilliar/Getty Images)

MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 15: Antoine Griezmann of France celebrates after winning the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between France and Germany at Allianz Arena on June 15, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Markus Gilliar/Getty Images)

Konami has discontinued its partnership with soccer player Antoine Griezmann. This comes after he was made an ambassador for Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! card game franchise on June 10. Griezmann, who represents both FC Barcelona and France, has received flak for his involvement in a racist incident caught on video.

The controversial video is from 2019 involves FC Barcelona teammate Ousmane Dembele. The two were in a Japanese hotel for a preseason trip when the video was filmed.

“All these ugly faces, just so you can play PES, my brother. Aren’t you ashamed?” says Dembele, which is met with a grin by Griezmann. Dembele also questions if the Japanese workers are “technologically advanced in [their] country.” Griezmann met these remarks with laughter as the Japanese men worked to fix a television in his room.

Konami, which is a Japanese company, was very disappointed in Griezmann’s behavior. The company announced on its website that Griezmann would no longer be working with them.

“Konami Entertainment believes, as is the philosophy of sports, that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable,” the company stated. They explained that they would be scrapping the deal with Griezmann “in light of recent events.” Konami also stated that they “will be requesting FC Barcelona as a club partner to explain the details of this case and its future actions.”

This ordeal has caused a great deal of commotion for FC Barcelona as well. Rakuten, Barcelona’s major sponsor, is another Japanese company that expressed its displeasure with the situation. Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of the retail company, labeled the video as “unacceptable” and said that he was “very disappointed.”

Griezmann and Dembele have since made official statements apologizing for the video. Dembele explained that he was “not targeting any community” but that he “would like to sincerely apologize to [the Japanese employees].” Griezmann made clear that he is “completely against all forms of discrimination.”

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