US/World News

British soccer star facing ban over ‘anti-Semitic’ Instagram

(JTA) – British soccer player Mario Balotelli, the foster son of a Jewish mother, is facing a five-game ban over what his league deemed a “racist and anti-Semitic” message on social media. The British Football Association last Friday charged Balotelli, 24, who plays for the Liverpool team, with breaching a league rule that bars “abusive and/or insulting and/or improper” social media posts. His Instagram post featured a photo of Nintendo computer game character Super Mario and read, in part, that the character “jumps like a Black man and grabs coins like a Jew.”

Balotelli, who is nicknamed Super Mario, apologized Dec. 2 on Twitter for the post. He is the son of immigrants from Ghana. Following criticism of the post, Balotelli responded with a tweet that said, “My Mom is jewish so all of u shut up please.” The rest of the Super Mario post reads: “Don’t be racist. Be like Mario. He’s an Italian plumber, created by Japanese people, who speaks English and looks like a Mexican.” Balotelli’s apology tweet said in part, “I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. The post was meant to be anti-racist with humor. I now understand that out of context it may have the opposite effect.”

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