Manchester City's Portuguese midfielder, Bernardo Silva, tweeted a photo where he directly compared his teammate Benjamin Mendy to a character that appears on packets of Spanish sweet brand Conguitos. Anti-discrimination charity organisation 'Kick it Out' found the tweet to be racist and has since complained about the City star to the English Football Association (FA).
Conguitos candies are available across Spain and Portugal. The brand's mascot is chocolate coloured and that's what attracted the eyeballs of anti-racism activists.
Social media users didn't spare any opportunity to criticise the City star's tweet and some of them even called the player irresponsible. Some fans even demanded punishment for the Portuguese player. In reply to Silva's tweet, Mendy tweeted a series of stickers that denotes clapping hands and other emojis. He also added a caption which read, "1-0 for you will see."
Silva later went on to delete the post and tweeted another one that says, "Can't even joke with a friend these days... You guys..."
Although he seemed to have been joking with his teammate, football pundits aren't taking the incident lightly. If the FA decides to punish the City star, Silva might have to pay a hefty fine or even face a ban. Last July, the FA increased its discriminatory behaviour-related punishment to a minimum 6-match ban for first-time offenders.
A Kick it Out spokesperson released a statement, which expressed their disappointment regarding Silva's tweet. They even went on to say that Silva should have been more responsible before posting such a racist tweet, given that he is an inspiration for millions of football fans across the globe.
In this regard, Man City boss Pep Guardiola said that punishing Silva would be a mistake. He also mentioned that these two players keep on joking with each other. He further said that white people often face similar issues when cartoon characters look similar to them.
According to BBC, Guardiola even said that Silva is a good person and his open-mindedness can be understood by the fact that the Portuguese can speak 4-5 languages.
He further stated that Mendy and Silva are best friends, therefore the Portuguese midfielder never intended to be racist.