A man charged with throwing a banana at Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has claimed that he is “not racist whatsoever.”
Averof Panteli, who drives a van for a living, chucked the banana towards Aubameyang when he scored the opening goal in Arsenal’s 4-2 derby victory over Tottenham on Sunday.
The Spurs fan told The Sun that he picked the fruit skin up after a child had finished eating it and threw it without thinking of the racial implications.
“I am not racist whatsoever,” Panteli told The Sun. “I am actually a Greek Cypriot. I am 100 per cent not a racist. I swear on my kids’ lives that I am not that kind of guy.
“I apologise if I have offended anyone from both clubs, especially Tottenham. It was a mad thing I did and I never meant to offend anyone in any way. I never meant anything by it.
“The Arsenal player was gloating in front of the away fans. He came up towards the away fans about 10m away and he is basically nodding his head and clapping at us.
“Without thinking, I picked up this banana skin from the ground and threw it on the edge of the pitch. I didn’t throw it at the players. It was just on the edge of the pitch.
“I am not condoning what I did and I regret it already.”