Antoine Griezmann, arguably one of the brightest rising stars in world soccer, came in for a social-media tongue lashing over the weekend after posting an image on Twitter
of himself dressed in a Harlem Globetrotters–style basketball uniform, complete with blackface.
The image was captioned “80’s party.”
The Globetrotters were formed in the 1920s on the south side of Chicago, playing initially as the Savoy Big Five and later the Globe Trotters as the all–African-American squad toured the Midwest and beyond, eventually becoming known as the Harlem Globetrotters in a reference to the centrality of the Harlem Renaissance to the African-American experience. They came to particular prominence in the 1970s, appearing with great frequency on TV and even immortalizing their flashy, hijinx-heavy playing style and colorful personalities to a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
Griezmann, whose club side Atlético Madrid wears a standard home kit that shares design elements with the Globetrotters uniform, initially asked that those responding to the controversial image calm themselves, stating that he is a fan of the Globetrotters “and this beautiful era” and intended only to pay tribute, and then later taking a second crack at it:
‘I recognize that it was clumsy of me. If I have offended people, I apologize.’
The 26-year-old French forward and midfielder, linked of late with prospective moves from Atlético to such globally renowned clubs as Manchester United and FC Barcelona, deleted the image from his Twitter account.
The Spanish newspaper El Confidencial noted in a Monday story heading that “blackface has a racist origin.” The word blackface itself was rendered in English.