The journalist, who works for the Spanish newspaper said the comment made was not racially-inclined. He had described Fati as a “young, black street seller” fleeing from police in a report about Barcelona’s 5-1 Champions League win over Ferencvaros.
The 17-year-old had an impressive outing against the Hungarian side in the Champions League opener on Tuesday night, scoring their second.
The aftermath of the victory was however soured by the paper’s description of the 17-year-old Guinea-Bissau-born Spain international.
“Ansu in full flight has something of a gazelle about him, of a very young, black street seller that you suddenly see running along Paseo de Gracia when someone shouting ‘water, water’ (to warn other street sellers) announced that the local police have arrived.
“Now this kind of thing does not happen, because, for Ada Colau (the left-wing mayor of Barcelona), the criminals are the police and not the street sellers, who no longer have to run away. It is also true that without tourists, business is rather weak,” the paper’s match report said
ABC being a newspaper known for favouring right-wing political parties is an advocate of their policies. Sostres then issued a public apology on the ABC website on Thursday morning.
“As I attempted to highlight the beauty of Ansu’s movement, and his class as a young player, some expressions were interpreted as racial discrimination.
“That could not be further from my intentions, or opinions, which are very favourable towards the player, as I have always expressed in my match reports since he made his debut.
“I deeply apologise for the misunderstanding and to those who may have been offended,” he wrote.
Griezmann support of Ansu Fati after racist remark
Angered by the report, Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann tweeted: “Ansu is an exceptional guy who deserves respect like all human beings. No to racism and no to ignorance.”
Ansu es un chico excepcional que merece respeto como cualquier ser humano. No al racismo y no a la mala educación. pic.twitter.com/LZuJOzoTMG— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) October 21, 2020
It wasn’t only the Frenchman that condemned the report. Former England forward, Gary Lineker retweeted Griezmann’s thoughts, saying the report felt like “stepping back 50 years.”
On his part, Barcelona mayor Ada Colau demanded a retraction from the newspaper.
“All my support to Ansu Fati and to all the young, anonymous people who fall under this characterization or stigma due to the colour of their skin,” he tweeted.
Barcelona won’t sue journalist after apologising to Fati
Meanwhile, Barcelona has withdrawn its threat of legal action against a journalist after his apology.
Mundo Deportivo reported that Sostres won’t face legal action due to his apology. The paper also noted that he has not apologized for the nature of the comments.
After breaking into the first team, Fati has now become an established member of the team alongside Lionel Messi, Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, and Francisco Trincao.
The teenage prodigy already has four caps for Spain, scoring one goal in the process.