(JTA) — British soccer player Mario Balotelli, who grew up the foster son of a Jewish mother, apologized for a racist and anti-Semitic post on his Instagram page.
On Tuesday, Balotelli apologized on Twitter for the post, which featured a photo of Nintendo computer game character Super Mario and read, in part, that the character “jumps like a Black man and grabs coins like a Jew.”
Balotelli, 24, who plays for the Liverpool team, is nicknamed Super Mario. He is the son of immigrants from Ghana.
He also was notified that he is being investigated by Britain’s Football Association under its strict anti-racism rules. Balotelli has until Friday to offer his explanation about the post.
Balotelli’s apology tweet said in part, “I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. The post was meant to be anti-racist with humor. I now understand that out of context it may have the opposite effect.”
The rest of the Super Mario post reads: “Don’t be racist. Be like Mario. He’s an Italian plumber, created by Japanese people, who speaks English and looks like a Mexican.”
On Monday, following criticism of the post, Balotelli responded with a tweet that said, “My Mom is jewish so all of u shut up please.”
Jewish leaders in Britain criticized the Super Mario post as anti-Semitic and racist.