Konami cancels Griezmann’s contract with Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG after controversial video surfaces

In the video, Griezmann and his teammate Dembelé appear to be mocking workers in a hotel in Japan in 2019.

Image via Konami

Barcelona soccer star and member of the French national team Antoine Griezmann is no longer a Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG ambassador, Konami announced today.

He was appointed as an ambassador in June and was set to be the first one to get his own card in the game. But controversial footage of him and his Barcelona and France teammate Ousmane Dembélé has led Konami to cancel the agreement. In the video, which was recorded in 2019 during Barcelona’s preseason in Japan, Griezmann and Dembélé appear to be mocking some Asian hotel workers. The video only went viral on the web earlier this month, though.

“Konami Digital Entertainment believes, as is the philosophy of sports, that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable,” the company said in an official statement provided to Goal. “Previously we had announced Antoine Griezmann as our Yu-Gi-Oh! contents ambassador, however in light of recent events we have decided to cancel the contract.”

The club is also officially licensed on Pro Evolution Soccer, Konami’s soccer game. “With regard to our eFootball PES franchise, we will be requesting FC Barcelona as a club partner to explain the details of this case and its future actions,” a statement from Konami provided to Daily Mail reads.

These may not be the only implications for Griezmann and Barcelona, though. The club is also sponsored by Rakuten, an electronic commerce and online retailing company based in Tokyo. The 30-year-old soccer star apologized on Twitter yesterday.

“I have always been committed against any form of discrimination,” he said. “For the past few days, some people have wanted to pass me off as the man I am not. I firmly refute the accusations made against me and I apologize if I have offended my Japanese friends.”

This isn’t the first time Griezmann has been involved in a race-related controversy. The French star caused outrage on social media in 2017 after posting a photograph in which he painted his skin black.