On Saturday, two British Premier League football teams, Chelsea and Arsenal, faced off for a pre-season match in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium. However, the much-anticipated international exhibition was overshadowed by the disrespectful actions of one young Chelsea player.
The day before the game, a Brazilian 21-year-old winger known to fans as Kenedy took to Instagram and posted multiple photos with offensive captions. The pictures included profane language and offensive statements in Portuguese that roughly translated to “fuck China” and “wake up China, idiot” in reference to a dozing security guard.
Kenedy quickly removed his posts after immediately receiving angry responses on his account, but it was already too late. Understandably, football fans and Chinese citizens alike were insulted by Kenedy’s remarks. Following the intense backlash from netizens, Kenedy posted a short, and seemingly insincere apology, on his Instagram account. In the post, Kenedy said that he was sorry if anyone “was sad” about his previous posts and that his use of the curse words was “just an expression.” The post, fortunately, has since been deleted, as well.
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) July 23, 2017
British football teams are relatively well-liked in China, and the stadium in Beijing was packed on Saturday afternoon with eager soccer fanatics. But when Kenedy’s name was announced at the beginning of the match and whenever he was involved in the play, angry boos and jeers could be heard from the crowd.
Chelsea FC tried to remedy the situation by posting a brief apologetic statement on their Weibo account on Saturday evening, but the damage had already been done. CGTN noted that Chinese citizens were further infuriated by the informal attempts made by the club to address Kenedy’s actions. Many called for Chelsea FC to punish Kenedy for his insensitivity and were incensed by the lack of an immediate response from the club. After all, this isn’t the first time that foreign athletes have posted culturally insensitive material online and Kenedy’s posts definitely crossed the line.
Finally, on Sunday afternoon, Chelsea got the message and released an official apology. The statement, written in both Chinese and English, explained that Kenedy’s posts were reprehensible and that he would be severely reprimanded for his actions.
But, despite these claims, Chelsea has yet to announce through what means Kenedy will be disciplined.
By Emma Abrams
[Images via CGTN]
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