The video in question is from 2019, and it shows Antoine Griezmann and his teammates making racist remarks towards Japanese hotel staff.
Antoine Griezmann, who plays for France’s national football team and Barcelona, has been removed from his Ambassadorship position for Konami’s famous Yu-Gi-Oh! series. He was a Content Ambassador for both Yu-Gi-Oh!’s card game and the anime franchise.
The video had been captured during Barcelona’s Japan Tour in 2019. In the video, Antoine Griezmann can be seen alongside his teammate Ousmane Dembélé. The two of them were making fun of the hotel’s staff for their looks and accent. The incident occurred when the hotel’s technicians came to fix the TV in their hotel room.
Moreover, this is not the only video where the player is seen to be exhibiting racist behavior. In the second video, Griezmann can be seen making stereotypical Asian-accent alongside teammates Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembélé.
Konami released an official statement regarding this incident, stating:
“Konami Digital Entertainment believes, as is the philosophy of sports, that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. We had announced Griezmann as our Yu-Gi-Oh! content ambassador, however in light of recent events we have decided to cancel the contract”
Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten’s CEO and one of Barcelona’s biggest sponsors, expressed disappointment and asked Barcelona to provide a full explanation. Furthermore, Konami also asked Barcelona to provide a full briefing regarding this incident. The football club is an affiliated partner with Konami for its PES Series. The club responded, stating:
“FC Barcelona deeply regret the displeasure amongst Japanese and Asian fans and partners of our Club caused by a video that appeared a few days ago on social media in which two first-team players (Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann) displayed a lack of respect in their attitude towards several employees in the hotel in which they were staying.”
Griezmann has since then apologized publicly to the world for his racist remarks towards the Japanese people. Moreover, he has also personally apologized to Hiroshi Mikitani for his behavior.