Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has apologised for forwarding an Instagram image featuring the Super Mario character which appeared to contain an anti-Semitic reference.
In a statement this morning, Balotelli said:
“I apologise if I’ve offended anyone.
“The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour. I now understand that out of context it may have the opposite effect.
“Not all Mexicans have a moustache, not all black people jump high and not all Jewish people love money.
“I used a cartoon done by somebody else because it has Super Mario and I thought it was funny and not offensive. Again, I’m sorry.”
The Italian posted an image from the Super Mario Nintendo game showing the title character headed: “Dont be a racist!”
The text added: “Be like Mario, he’s an Italian plumber, created by Japanese people, who speaks English and looks like a Mexican.
“He jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew.”
It’s this latter phrase that appears to be causing Balotelli a problem. He was roundly criticised on Twitter and responded: “My Mom is Jewish so all of you shut up please.”
Simon Johnson of the Jewish Leadership Council is calling for the FA to look into the matter. If found guilty of racism Balotelli could face a five-match ban.
“We abhor all forms of racism, wherever it is found,” said Johnson.
“We call upon the FA to investigate this offensive social media post and to take action if appropriate if we are to succeed in kicking racism out of football.”
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