Atletico Madrid and France star Antoine Griezmann after blacking up for an ‘80s-themed party last night.
The 26-year-old dressed as a basketball player for the bash, but painted his entire body black and donned an afro-style wig, before posting photos of the ‘costume’ to social media.
Griezmann then made a further misstep when he told angry fans to ‘calm down’ in their response to the costume, before eventually apologising.
Griezmann, clearly misunderstanding the situation, tweeted in French: “Calm down guys, I’m a fan of the Harlem Globetrotters and the good times… it’s a tribute.”
He then offered a fairly weak, ‘sorry if you’re offended’ style apology, tweeting: “I agree that it’s awkward for me. If I hurt some people excuse me.”
The Atletico star has unsurprisingly received huge amounts of backlash on Twitter. One user called him ‘trash’, while another tweeted, “Griezmann voted for Le Pen”, referring to far-right politician Marine Le Pen, who was beaten to the French presidency by Emmanuel Macron earlier this year.
Griezmann plays for France full of black players so I dunno what the fuck he’s doing.. trash guy— sanka (@Martian_MUFC) December 17, 2017
While Griezmann may have argued that his use of blackface was a respectful homage to an old basketball team, he is not realising the racist, damaging history of white people painting their skin black.
It originates from minstrel shows in the US in the late 19 Century, where white actors would black up to depict African American slaves - and these depictions were far from respectful. They played of harmful stereotypes and dehumanised black people.
These stereotypes still play in to a lot of the racism black people experience today, and therefore there is no ‘innocent’ or ‘respectful’ way of blacking up. Even if you don’t think you’re being racist, you are.
Neither Atletico Madrid nor the French Football Federation have commented yet on Griezmann’s actions.
(Images: Rex / Antoine Griezmann / Twitter)