Soccer star apologizes for blackface costume

He is one of the world’s best and most sought-after footballers, but Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann caused outrage on social media on Sunday by posting a picture of himself in a blackface costume for an 1980s themed costume party.

The Frenchman, 26, tweeted a picture of himself dressed as a black basketball player — he was in full-body blackface with an Afro wig — and initially told his followers to “calm down” in response to the criticisms he received for wearing the outfit.

Griezmann, who has been linked with moves to Barcelona and Manchester United, later deleted the original post and the message which had said: “Clam down everyone. I’m a fan of the Harlem Globetrotters and this is a tribute.”

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In his third tweet of the evening, the footballer apologized by saying: “I recognize that it was insensitive on my part. If I have offended some people I apologize.”

The forward was top scorer at Euro 2016, helping France to the final where they lost to Portugal in Paris, and came third in that year’s Ballon d’Or player of the year award.

Among those who criticized the player was English politician David Lammy, Member of Parliament for Tottenham, who also made reference to a blackface darts fan who dressed as Labour politician Diane Abbott during the PDC World Darts Championship in London.

“There are so, so many different options for an 80’s party, or a night out at the darts for that matter, that don’t involve blackface,” he tweeted.

“I can’t believe we’re out here in 2017 saying don’t dress up in blackface.”