Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani still faces a possible FA ban over a controversial social media post that could be interpreted as racist.
Cavani posted the message, which included the Spanish word ‘negrito’, to thank a friend who was congratulating him on scoring twice in United’s comeback win over Southampton on Sunday.
The term can be used in an affectionate context between friends in South America, but has racist connotations when translated in English. Cavani deleted the post when he was made aware that it could be interpreted in that way and later apologised, seeking to clarify his actions.
“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,” Cavani explained in a statement.
“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.”
United are supporting Cavani and issued a statement that read: “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.”
But Cavani still faces potential sanctions from the FA and The Times reports that the 33-year-old will be asked to explain his use of the word, before it is decided whether to issue a misconduct charge. It is expected he will offer the same defence he has shared in his public apology.
If the FA believes that he used racist language, Cavani could be banned for at least three games, with FA rules on racist behaviour firmer than last season when Manchester City winger Bernardo Silva was banned for one game after his social media post about teammate Benjamin Mendy.
Although intended in jest, Silva had likened his friend and colleague to a black character with big lips featured on a brand of chocolate in Spain and Portugal. Despite the intended nature of it and the strong relationship between the two players, there were obvious racial connotations.
The Times notes that United also view Cavani’s situation as ‘completely different’ to that of ex-Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, who was banned for eight games during the 2011/12 season for calling Patrice Evra ‘negro’ during a clash at Anfield.
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