Colombian soccer player Edwin Cardona has netizens outraged for the racist gesture he made towards his South Korean opponents during a friendly match between the two teams on Friday.
The incident occurred after an apparent foul between James Rodriguez and Kim Jin-Su; as Kim writhed on the ground, seemingly in pain, James (who commonly goes by his first name) attempted to pull Kim to his feet to resume the match. At this point, Kim’s teammate, Ki Sung-Yueng, caught up to the two players and shoved James to the ground.
While James and Kim rolled around in pain, other players from both sides started gathering around them, flanked by two referees who tried to take control of the situation. As more players joined in, they started to become more physical, pushing and shoving each other. At this point, Cardona, who had been on the bench up until this point, looked directly at Ki and used his fingers to pull back his eyes and make a racist gesture.
After South Korea won 2 – 1, Colombia’s head coach, Jose Pekerman, sidestepped over any questions pertaining to the incident during the post-game press conference, claiming that he didn’t see what had happened.
“I didn’t see that gesture and I cannot comment on that,” Pekerman stated
. “It was a physical game. Things happen during a game like this. I can’t comment further on an incident that I didn’t see with my own eyes.”
Unfortunately for Cardona and Pekerman, the incident was captured by South Korean television and shared widely on social media, with many netizens condemning the player for his actions.
Colombian media, on the other hand, made light of the incident, calling it “funny and mischievous” and suggested that he wouldn’t be punished back home for the gesture.
The Colombian player’s gesture mirrors Yuli Gurriel
‘s actions last month, where the Astros’ first baseman also pulled back his eyes as a racist taunt to Japanese Dodgers’ player, Yu Darvish. Gurriel was given a lenient punishment: suspension from next season’s first five games.