Antoine Griezmann has defended himself and apologised after sparking a Twitter backlash by posting a picture of himself on social media in fancy dress as a black basketball player.
The Atletico Madrid and France forward’s initial tweet, captioned “80’s Party ðð¤£”, showed Griezmann in an NBA All Stars basketball kit with heavily darkened skin and an afro-style wig.
After a string of angry responses, Griezmann returned to Twitter to post: “Calm down friends, I’m fan of the Harlem globetrotters and the good times… it’s a tribute â”
More than 20 minutes after that post, he added: “I recognise it is clumsy on my part. If I have hurt anyone, I apologise.”
After apologising, Griezmann deleted the original image from his verified Twitter and Instagram accounts.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) December 17, 2017
The 26-year-old was linked with a move to Manchester United during the summer and has reportedly been attracting recent interest from Barcelona.
However, he faced a string of angry responses to his choice of costume, with many social media users accusing him of racism and suggesting he delete the initial tweet before he eventually did so.
Former Liverpool forward Stan Collymore tweeted: “Wikipedia often is miles off. On blackface, it’s actually done some homework. Give it a read, have a think, then put yourself in the shoes of generations of BAME human beings ridiculed. At least try!”