Liverpool Striker Mario Balotelli Apologizes for Offensive Instagram Post

An image posted by the Italian soccer star, whose foster mother is Jewish, called on fans to 'Be like Mario,' who 'jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew.'

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Liverpool's Mario Balotelli reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Hull City at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England October 25, 2014. Credit: Reuters

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli apologized on Tuesday for his social media post which appeared to contain potentially racist and anti-Semitic references.

Balotelli, who made the post on his Instagram page on Monday, will be investigated by the Football Association (FA), according to British media reports.

The 24-year-old Italian, who grew up as the foster son of a Jewish mother,  later deleted the post, which called on fans to "Be like Mario," who "jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew."

"I apologise if I've offended anyone," Balotelli said on Twitter. "The post was meant to be anti-racist with humor. I now understand that out of context it may have the opposite effect."

Liverpool said they will speak to the striker who signed from AC Milan in August.

"We are aware of the posting which has since been promptly deleted by the player," a Liverpool spokesman told the BBC. "We will be speaking to the player about the issue."

Former FA executive Simon Johnson, who is the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said Balotelli should be punished.

"We abhor all forms of racism, wherever it is found," he told The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"We call upon the FA to investigate this offensive social media post and to take action if appropriate if we are to succeed in kicking racism out of football." 

I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. The post was meant to be anti-racist with humour. I now understand that (...)