The words clash with the atmosphere of anti-racist commitment advocated by many players at Euro football and in the previous months (we remember the outcry after the insult of a Romanian referee during the PSG-Basaksehir match on the 8th December). Friday, a 42 second video emerged on Twitter and was covered in several foreign media without causing much noise in France. There are the international tricolors, also teammates at FC Barcelona and very good friends in life, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé (whose voice we only hear) openly mocking in French of three Japanese men in front of them.
The clip opens with Griezmann we hear say: “Dynamic, they are aerodynamic”, pointing to the Japanese staff at their hotel (a man wrote the word “staff” on the back). Then, what appears to be Dembélé’s voice, who would therefore be the one shooting the video, says: “All those dirty faces …” zooming in on a hotel employee, then on the all-smiling face of Antoine Griezmann who nods his head. “… To play PES [Pro Evolution Soccer, jeu de simulation de foot, concurrent de Fifa et produit par l’entreprise japonaise Konami, ndlr] my brother. Are not you ashamed”, said Dembélé’s voice, laughing.
“Are you ahead or you are not ahead in your country, yeah ?!”
At this moment, a video jump occurs, perhaps due to the “story” format. Then we see the feet of the person filming protruding, sitting on a bed. In front of him, the same three men standing in front of a computer. A Japanese internet user confirms that one of these men said in his own language: “Isn’t it possible to convert it to English?”, perhaps evoking the PES game mentioned by the Barça player.
Dembélé’s voice then said in French, giggling: “Oh damn, the tongue.»Griezmann answers something inaudible while laughing. Then his teammate continues: “You’re early or you’re not early in your country, yeah ?!» Laughs. An inaudible sentence is cut by the end of the video.
The clip appears to be a movie from a Snapchat story that appears on a smartphone. It is not dated and the pseudo that appears “Juice” does not confirm that it belongs to Dembélé, but the voice resembles that of the player and Griezmann’s face is clearly recognizable in the images.
Dutch media advance the possibility that the scene was shot during FC Barcelona’s summer preparation tour in Japan in July 2019. Indeed, Ousmane Dembélé and Antoine Griezmann took part in their club’s trip as evidenced by the photo of team posted on the FC Barcelona website July 21, 2019. We see in particular Antoine Griezmann – who often changes his hairstyle – with exactly the same hairstyle as in the video (and not the same as at Euro 2021).
Release was able to contact two Internet users who had access to the clip separately and posted it, without consulting each other, they say, on Twitter on Friday before being widely taken up. “Dembélé had put it in his private Snapchat story, on his second account I believe, and someone had filmed it, explains one of them. This person then passed it on to someone else and then, one thing leading to another (a very small committee of people) it fell into the hands of my friend who did not know what to do with it and me. sent it. So me, shocked by the video, I decided to publish it. ” (sic)
The other internet user who posted the video on his account @Erwan_Fran a few minutes before, Friday, tells him: “It was sent to me in August 2019 (someone who had access to their private story). His private story [de Dembélé, ndlr] is visible only to his relatives or people around him from near or far. And the video I had already posted on the 13th or the 14 May 2020 (but it had not exceeded my subscribers in terms of visibility). I posted the video on Friday because I knew it would have a better chance of having a lot more visibility. ” (sic) It is impossible to confirm that the video has indeed already been posted in May 2020 because the Internet user has cleaned up his tweets from September of the same year.
But in another video, posted by the official FC Barcelona account on August 1, 2019 on Youtube, and entitled “Exclusive | Japan Tour 2019 Unseen footage ”(Exclusive, Tour in Japan 2019 never seen images), we see Antoine Griezmann who seems to mockingly imitate a language with Asian sounds (at 4min44) during a moment of rest with some members of the team. In the pictures, he still has the same hairstyle as in the Snapchat video.
This is not new, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé are good comrades, as shown this funny interview for M6 in October 2018, and they would both be big fans of video games.
Griezmann was also named “official ambassador of the playing card game Yu-Gi-Oh!” by Konami (the Japanese company that produces the PES game), can we read on their website on June 10. However, the promotional Youtube video was deleted, we don’t know when. And the player would be one of the headliners of the next PES 2022, a demo of which has just been revealed by the specialized site Playscope.
Since the Snapchat video was posted on Twitter, many Internet users, especially Japanese, were moved by the comments that the players would say, denouncing them as racist. Some are calling Rakuten, one of the main sponsors of FC Barcelona, and one of the Japanese internet giants, to react. Contacted, the Barcelona club did not respond to our request. The players have not yet reacted.