Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani has sparked controversy and been labelled a ‘racist’ for an Instagram post after his match-winning performance against Southampton this afternoon.
Cavani, who came off the bench at halftime to contribute a game-winning two goals and an assist, responded to someone on his Instagram story with ‘Gracias Negrito’.
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The literal transition of those Spanish words is ‘thanks Black’, which has of course sparked controversy, but the use of the term may be seen as okay for want of a better word in some contexts.
Some fans have compared the incident to that of Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, in which the then Liverpool striker was handed an eight-match ban for using the same word.
The tricky part was touched upon by the Independent at the time, which details that the term ‘negrito’ is used widely in Spanish-speaking areas within Latin American in both a derogatory and positive way.
Suarez got banned for 8 games for the saying this exact word. Wonder if they’ll be the same punishment for Cavani. Something tells me there won’t. ? https://t.co/exN55SbpC5
— Conor Raynor ? #19 (@MacaRaynor) November 29, 2020
Remeber Suarez got 8 match ban after saying Negrito to Evra? Well here's Cavani's Instagram post pic.twitter.com/CQqODFjB2Z
— Arne Magnus Lundby (@ArneMagnus) November 29, 2020
The incident has sparked some reaction from some Liverpool fans in particular, which has led to fierce debate on social media:
This just in, it was racist when Suarez said it and it’s racist when Cavani has said it. This “term of affection” thing didn’t fly the first time, so why now?
Surely we should be consistent in calling out racism, no matter who the player plays for?
— Jay (?x19) (@ScouseSocialism) November 29, 2020
Cavani using the word Suarez called Evra? i bet Cavani didn’t mean it in a racist way tho ?
— Andy (@AndyTheRed83) November 29, 2020
I am guessing Cavani is getting the same treatment as Suarez then pic.twitter.com/desTAbVarl
— Jay Chambers (@JChambersSN) November 29, 2020
Hope united fans gonna have the same energy for cavani as they did suarez. Both wrong. Both said the same thing. No excuses from either.
— Jonah (@jonahs___) November 29, 2020
Apparently some United fans now deem it to be acceptable for a player to be racist but only if said player wears a United kit for 90 minutes every week. Interesting! #cavani
— Ash McNally (@ash_mcnally90) November 29, 2020
All the united fans that set upon suarez for using the same term with Evra now defending Cavani in the replies lol https://t.co/POyP5KxKE3
— Scott Cheg (@armadableable) November 29, 2020
Suarez – racist
Cavani – Its fine
Keep moving them goal posts ?
— Jota Believe Us (@hayb81) November 29, 2020
— Chris (@ChrisupastarLFC) November 29, 2020
Yes, Cavani should be punished, but bringing up Suarez, who was also rightly punished, as being victimized makes you look really dumb defending a racist @ LFCtwitter.
— VPIfan (@VPIfan) November 29, 2020
In the above case, it’s clear that Cavani has used the term in a pleasant manner as it’s accompanied by ‘gracias’ (‘thanks’), but the incident as still sparked serious controversy.
It remains to be seen whether this incident will be investigated by either Manchester United, the Premier League or Football Association.