Italian and Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has prompted an investigation from the English Football Association after being accused of posting a racist image on Instagram. Balotelli reposted an image of his namesake, Nintendo character "Super Mario."
Mario Balotelli is no stranger to racism, however the Italian international is usually the target of racist abuse due to his African heritage. The post remarking on the character's multicultural background to promote a non-judgemental view of the world ironically backfired.
The post contained an image of Super Mario that included the headline, "Don't be a racist!" The text read, "Be like Mario, he's an Italian plumber, created by Japanese people, who speaks English and looks like a Mexican."
However, the text that sparked the controversy read, "He jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew."
The English Football Association has asked Balotelli for his observations and given him until 18:00 GMT on Friday to respond, while Liverpool say they will speak to the player.
A Liverpool spokesman said, "We are aware of the posting which has since been promptly deleted by the player. We will be speaking to the player about the issue". Balotelli tweeted a reply denouncing the racist nature of the tweet.
In the tweet, Balotelli made reference to his maternal Jewish background.
( my Mom is jewish so all of u shut up please)Balotelli described reposting the image as "my unlucky moment."
— Mario Balotelli (@FinallyMario) December 1, 2014
Mario Balotelli has since conceded the lack of judgement on his part apologising soon after.
"I apologise if I've offended anyone. The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour. I now understand that out of context it may have the opposite effect. Not all Mexicans have a moustache, not all black people jump high and not all Jewish people love money. I used a cartoon done by somebody else because it has Super Mario and I thought it was funny and not offensive. Again, I'm sorry."Recently, the number 45 was on the opposite end of racially abusive tweets which prompted an investigation from the Merseyside police. The abuse followed a tweet Balotelli made mocking rivals Manchester United loss 5-3 at Leicester earlier this season.
Mario Balotelli scrutiny will not have helped his position at Liverpool after sub-par performances since joining last season's league runners-up. Balotelli has only scored 2 goals since joining the Merseyside giants and is currently out injured. With his manager under pressure, Brendan Rodgers, is reportedly keen on bringing in another forward with the possibility of recalling on-loan striker Divock Origi in the winter transfer window.
Liverpool will head to Leicester, without Mario Balotelli, after a moral boosting win against Stoke.
Should The FA punish Mario Balotelli after his controversial post on Instagram?