France and Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has been dropped by Japanese gaming company Konami, one of his sponsor after a controversial video that surfaced on social media. The player appeared to make anti-Asian remarks during a trip to Japan in 2019 along with his countryman and Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele.
The pair were mocking two Japanese technicians who were fixing their television sets in a hotel room during their visit to Japan.
Konami issued a statement announcing that they have terminated its contract with Griezmann which read, “Konami Digital Entertainment feels, as is the philosophy of sports, that discrimination of any nature is unacceptable.”
“We announced that Antoine Griezmann was becoming our Yu-Gi-Oh! content ambassador, but in light of recent events, we have decided to cancel the contract. In terms of our eFootball PES franchise, we ask that FC Barcelona, as a partner club, explains the details of this matter and its intended future actions,” the statement further read.
Barcelona’s official shirt sponsor Rakuten has also raised eyebrows after this incident and has asked the club to explain the controversial videos. Rakuten is also the club’s global innovation and entertainment partner. Barcelona extended their shirt sponsorship deal with Rakuten in November last year. The contract is worth €55 million (US$64.8 million) annually and was signed back in 2016. The agreement was set to expire at the end of this year but the club exercised an option and added another year to this deal.
Hiroshi Mikitani, the chief executive of the Japanese e-commerce giant has said their company has endorsed the club’s philosophy and has been a proud sponsor but these actions by the players are unacceptable under any circumstances.
Both the players have issued an apology on their social media handles and have received major criticisms from the fans not only in Japan but around the world