Son admits Tottenham team-mate ‘made a mistake’ after ‘joking’ South Koreans ‘all look the same’

Jason Soutar
Tottenham players Rodrigo Bentancur and Heung-min Son during a match
Rodrigo Bentancur and Heung-min Son during a match

Heung-min Son admits Rodrigo Bentancur “made a mistake” but knows his Tottenham team-mate meant no harm when he made “a very bad joke” that actually just sounded racist.

Bentancur apologised to the South Korea international and Tottenham captain for the “joke” he made on Uruguayan television.

Bentancur had been asked by the host of the Canal 10 show for a Spurs player’s shirt, to which he replied: “Sonny’s? It could be Sonny’s cousin too as they all look the same.”

Bentancur swiftly wrote an apology on Instagram after the clip went viral on social media. He said: “Sonny brother! I apologise to you for what happened, it was just a very bad joke!

“You know I love you and I would never disrespect you or hurt you or anyone else! I love you, brother!”

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Despite this, discrimination charity Kick It Out said a “significant number” of reports had been received by the organisation.

A statement from the charity read: “Kick It Out has received a significant number of reports about Rodrigo Bentancur’s comments regarding his Tottenham team-mate Son Heung-min. These reports have already been sent to the club and relevant authorities.


“We recognise Bentancur has acknowledged the offence caused, however it highlights a wider issue that heavily affects East Asian and wider communities.

“We will be seeking to address these broader issues in the coming season.”

Both Tottenham and Son published statements on Thursday morning, with the latter confirming he has spoken to Bentancur, who “would not mean to ever intentionally say something offensive”.

“I’ve spoken with Rodrigo Bentancur,” the Spurs captain said. “He made a mistake, he knows this and has apologised.

“Lolo would not mean to ever intentionally say something offensive. We are brothers and nothing has changed at all.

“We’re past this, we’re united, and we will be back together in pre season to fight for our club as one.”

Spurs said in a statement: “Following a comment from Rodrigo Bentancur in an interview video clip and the player’s subsequent public apology, the Club has been providing assistance in ensuring a positive outcome on the matter. This will include further education for all players in line with our diversity, equality and inclusion objectives.

“We fully support that our captain Sonny feels that he can draw a line under the incident and that the team can focus on the new season ahead.

“We are extremely proud of our diverse, global fanbase and playing squads. Discrimination of any kind has no place at our Club, within our game or within wider society.”

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