Italian soccer star Mario Balotelli is in trouble with football authorities after posting a racist picture to Instagram.
Balotelli, who currently plays for Liverpool in the English Football Association, seems to have intended the racist image to convey an anti-racist message. But it was poorly received and sparked an outcry.
The original post:
Balotelli on Instagram. pic.twitter.com/VAcSxgmBWL
— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) December 1, 2014
Balotelli initially defended the post. "My Mom is jewish so all of u shut up please," he wrote in a response. But pressure continued to mount, and he took down the image after about 15 minutes.
Later, he posted this reply:
I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour. I now understand that (...) pic.twitter.com/UlNeNlEz9M
— Mario Balotelli (@FinallyMario) December 2, 2014
Balotelli may recognize the error of his ways, but that doesn't mean his problems stemming from the post are over. The post is a violation of the English Football Association's social media guidelines for players, and the league has launched an investigation into the matter.
Balotelli has until Friday to respond to the league's inquiry, but he could be facing a minimum five-game suspension.
The Professional Footballers' Association also weighed in on the matter.
"The situation regarding Mario Balotelli's Instagram post... highlights how vigilant players need to be in all of their dealings with social media," said the PFA in a statement.