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Korean footballer shrugs off Italian colleague's 'racial joke'

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Antonino Ragusa used a controversial remark on Lee Seung-woo's picture. Capture from Ragusa's Instagram
Antonino Ragusa used a controversial remark on Lee Seung-woo's picture. Capture from Ragusa's Instagram

By Dong Sun-hwa

Did national football player Lee Seung-woo fall victim to racism as some online users claim?

Lee, 20, a left-winger for Hellas Verona in Italy, said "no" on his Instagram, Tuesday.

The controversy was ignited when Antonino Ragusa, Lee's Italian teammate, posted a photo of Lee on his Instagram on Monday and wrote, "Sono Giapponese!!" which means "I am a Japanese" in Italian.

Some online users said this is a racist attack.

At an interview in 2013, a Japanese national told an Italian reporter, "Sono Giapponese," when he couldn't understand the question. The Japanese was mocked for this and from then the remark has been regarded as offensive to Asians in general, according to the users.

Watch the interview:
bit.ly/1j7Uk4D

Lee Seung-woo posted a photo of himself with Ragusa. Capture from Lee's Instagram
Lee Seung-woo posted a photo of himself with Ragusa. Capture from Lee's Instagram

Shortly after the latest fuss, Lee posted a photo of himself with Ragusa on his social network saying "no," which can be interpreted as his response to the issue. Ragusa uploaded the same picture on his Instagram and wrote, "Per tutti quelli che hanno frainteso lo scherzo!!" which means "For those who have misunderstood my joke."

Nevertheless, the controversy has not gone away, mostly because Ragusa did not elaborate on his reason for using the remark despite the risk of it being misunderstood by Lee's fans.


Dong Sun-hwa sunhwadong@koreatimes.co.kr


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