Thu. Jan 28th, 2021

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Edinson Cavani apologises as the FA begin lengthy investigation into striker’s ‘negrito’ post

4 min read

Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani has apologised for his racially insensitive social media post on Sunday, insisting ‘the last thing I wanted to do was cause offence’.

The Red Devils are facing an anxious wait to find out if the Uruguayan will be in hot water with the Football Association for the social media post which sparked a race storm.

The FA are looking into a now-deleted message in which Cavani responded to congratulations following his two-goal display at Southampton with the phrase ‘gracias negrito,’ a Spanish term with alleged racial connotations. 

Manchester United's Edinson Cavani has apologised for his controversial Instagram post

Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani has apologised for his controversial Instagram post

His message translated to 'thanks black' as he appeared to respond to a congratulatory post

His message translated to ‘thanks black’ as he appeared to respond to a congratulatory post

In a statement on Monday Cavani apologised, saying: ‘The message I posted after the game on Sunday was intended as an affectionate greeting to a friend, thanking him for his congratulations after the game.

‘The last thing I wanted to do was cause offence to anyone. 

‘I am completely opposed to racism and deleted the message as soon as it was explained that it can be interpreted differently. I would like to sincerely apologise for this.’

In a club statement, United added: ‘It is clear to us that there was absolutely no malicious intent behind Edinson’s message and he deleted it as soon as he was informed that it could be misconstrued.

‘Edinson has issued an apology for any unintentional offence caused. Manchester United and all of our players are fully committed to the fight against racism.’

Cavani could receive a minimum three-game ban if the FA decide his Instagram post was in breach of their rules after updating their guidelines on sanctions for discriminatory behaviour ahead of this season. 

But the case will not be treated like an on-field incident which can involve charges being fast-tracked in order for a hearing to take place before a potential offender would next play.

Instead, the initial investigation will involve a longer process while the FA gather evidence before deciding whether to charge Cavani. 

CAVANI AND MANCHESTER UNITED’S STATEMENTS 

Cavani’s: ‘The message I posted after the match on Sunday was intended as an affectionate greeting to a friend, thanking him for his congratulations after the game.

‘The last thing I wanted to do was cause offence to anyone. I am completely opposed to racism and deleted the message as soon as it was explained that it can be interpreted differently.

‘I would like to sincerely apologise for this.’

Manchester United’s: ‘It is clear to us that there was absolutely no malicious intent behind Edinson’s message and he deleted it as soon as he was informed that it could be misconstrued.

‘Edinson has issued an apology for any unintentional offence caused. Manchester United and all of our players are fully committed to the fight against racism.’

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Cavani could be asked to give his observations as the FA begin their lengthy investigation

Cavani could be asked to give his observations as the FA begin their lengthy investigation

It may not be until the midweek at the earliest before the FA are in position to determine whether Cavani has a case to answer.

The post remained on Cavani’s account for some time before it was deleted after he was informed by Manchester United officials about the offence caused. 

The incident quickly led to comparisons being drawn between Cavani and his fellow Uruguayan Suarez.

Cavani’s countryman, then Liverpool striker Suarez, was banned for eight games and fined £40,000 for using the word ‘negro’ after clashing with United defender Patrice Evra in 2011.

Suarez attempted to argue in his FA hearing that the word in Uruguay and other parts of Latin America is inoffensive in certain situations.

In his book he later insisted the word does not mean the same in English as Spanish and he was unaware of the difference and its ‘highly-offensive’ meaning here at the time, even though he used it in a row with the Frenchman. His suggestions were rejected by the FA’s independent commission.

There are comparisons with Luis Suarez, who used the word ‘negro’ in a clash with Patrice Evra

He also explained in his book: ‘Negro can refer to anyone with dark hair as well as dark skin and I’ve been used to the word being used in Spanish in this way all my life.

‘My wife sometimes calls me ‘Negro’ or (the diminutive version) ‘Negrito’. My grandmother used to call my grandfather ‘Negrito’ and she would occasionally call me that too.’

The FA published updated punishment guidelines ahead of the start of a new season in a clampdown on racism and discriminatory behaviour.

Any on social media will carry a minimum three-game suspension for culprits compared to bans of between six and 12 games for offences that take place in matches.

The bans were increased after Manchester City’s Bernando Silva and Tottenham’s Dele Alli were suspended for just one-game last season after breaching FA rules with posts on social media.

The new FA policies mean the fact incidents may take place privately or ‘outside of a standard football setting’, such as Cavani’s, would no longer be a reason for offenders to be spared punishment. 

The post remained on Cavani’s Instagram account for some time before it was deleted

The post remained on Cavani’s Instagram account for some time before it was deleted

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