Barcelona stars Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele each apologized after videos recently surfaced of the two mocking Asian people during a 2019 preseason tour in Japan.
As The Athletic noted, one video took place as hotel staff members attempted to fix a television set while Dembele is heard questioning their "backward language" and asking, "Are you technologically advanced in your country or not?" A second video showed Griezmann shouting in an accent using the words "Ching chong."
"I have always engaged against all forms of discrimination," Griezmann said on Twitter (translated by The Athletic). "For a couple of days now some people want to pass me for a man that I am not. I completely refute the accusations against me and I am sorry if I have offended my Japanese friends."
Dembele also released a statement regarding the video:
"Recently, a private video from 2019 has been circulating on social networks. The scene happens to be in Japan. It could have taken place anywhere on the planet, I would have used the same expressions.
"So I wasn't targeting any community. I sometimes use these kinds of expressions in private, with friends, regardless of their origin. This video is now public. I can therefore imagine that it could have offended the people present in these images. Therefore, I offer them my most sincere apologies."
There has not yet been any announcement about potential punishment for either player, per ESPN.
Griezmann and Dembele are teammates both at Barcelona and for the France national team. The forwards were both on the Euro 2020 roster for France as the favorites suffered a disappointing early exit in the Round of 16.