Konami Drops Yu-Gi-Oh Ambassador Griezmann After Racism Scandal

Konami have dropped Yu-Gi-Oh ambassador and soccer player Antonio Griezmann after footage leaked of him and a teammate mocking Asian workers.

Published: July 7, 2021 10:29 AM /


Antonio Griezmann, soccer player and former Yu-Gi-Oh ambassador.

Konami has released Antonio Griezmann, French soccer player for FC Barcelona, from his role as Yu-Gi-Oh ambassador after only a few weeks. Their break up comes as a result of a leaked video in which he and teammate Ousmane Dembélé mock Asian workers at a hotel.

The video was posted on Twitter last Saturday by @plusbarca_, a "worldwide FC Barcelona Fanpage." It's not entirely certain when the footage was taken, but it's estimated that it was recorded during Barcelona's 2019 tour of Japan. In the video, Dembélé is recording a group of hotel employees working on a problem with the TV while he and Griezmann sit on the bed. A follow-up tweet translates what Dembélé is saying, where he remarks on the employees' looks, language, and supposed technological development. Girezmann doesn't say anything in the video, but he can be seen grinning at his teammate's remarks.

In response to this, Konami released a short yet simple statement, barely a paragraph long. They state that "discrimination of any kind is unacceptable" and that "in light of recent events we have decided to cancel" Griezmann's contract as a Yu-Gi-Oh ambassador. This incident also seems to have made things shaky with their partnership with Barcelona in Pro Evolution Soccer. With regards to that franchise, Konami also asked club partner FC Barcelona to "explain the details of this case and its future actions." Both of the players issued apologies on Sunday, but denied any racist intent in their comments. Dembélé says that it happened in Japan, but it "could have taken place anywhere on the planet and I would have used the same expression," and that "I just happened to use this type of expression with my friends regardless of their origins."

The announcement about Griezmann becoming an ambassador for Yu-Gi-Oh is no longer on the official site, along with the interview they had with them. More than likely the plans to have him design a card are also up in smoke.

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I am a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a major in writing and a minor in gaming. I have a passion for video games and writing. I also… More about Brian