September 25 – A tweet posted by a Manchester City player about a teammate has been condemned by Britain’s Anti-racism group Kick It Out but played down by City manager Pep Guardiola.
The tweet was posted by City midfielder Bernardo Silva about team-mate Benjamin Mendy, who was compared to a character on a packet of Conguitos – a sweet brand available in Spain and Portugal.
The two City stars are close friends but the tweet was quickly deleted and replaced with another which stated: “Can’t even joke with a friend these days….”
Kick It Out denounced what it described as a “racist stereotype”
“We’re shocked that someone who is a role model to millions has failed to understand the discriminatory nature of his post,” a statement said. “The FA has been notified and we believe that retrospective action should be taken, including mandatory education – which is vital to challenge offensive behaviour such as this.”
Guardiola defended his players and said no punitive action should be taken by the authorities. “There are many situations with white people where a cartoon will look similar. The response from Mendy was clear. They are joking all the time,” he said.
“Bernardo is one of the most lovely people I’ve met in my life. He speaks four or five languages – that’s the best way to understand how open-minded he is. One of his best friends is Mendy. He’s like a brother. If something happens it will be a mistake because Bernardo is an exceptional person. It’s nothing to do with colour of skin or nationality.”
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