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Rodrigo Bentancur releases further apology after Son comment with Tottenham and FA response

Rodrigo Bentancur has issued a further apology after the offensive comment he claims was only aimed at his Tottenham captain Son Heung-min.

During a televised interview ahead of the Copa America, the Spurs midfielder attempted to make a joke when a reporter asked for a shirt from one of his team-mates. The reporter asked: "Can you get me the shirt from the Korean?" to which Bentancur asked "Sonny?" and the journalist said "Or any other champion?". Bentancur replied: "Or any cousin of Sonny, they all look more or less the same!" to which the reporter replied "Yes, of course!!"

The comment was taken as a racial slur and sparked outrage throughout the Korean community and outside of it, and Kick It Out, the organisation which seeks to end racism and discrimination in sport, said this week that it had "received a significant number of reports about Rodrigo Bentancur's comments regarding his Tottenham team-mate Son Heung-min. These reports have already been sent to the club and relevant authorities. We recognise Bentancur has acknowledged the offence caused, however it highlights a wider issue that heavily affects East Asian and wider communities. We’ll be seeking to address these broader issues in the coming season".

The FA are also investigating the comments with the possibility of a charge and potential ban for the Uruguayan. Spurs are dealing with the issue internally, although much of that will be governed by what the FA decide, and now Bentancur has taken to Instagram again with a more permanent post about the situation after a issuing a temporary 24-hour Instagram Story apology soon after the interview became public and sparked a reaction.

"I would like to communicate to all fans and everyone who follows us that after my interview where I referred to Son and no one else, I have spoken to him and, logically given our deep friendship, he understands it was only an unfortunate misunderstanding. All has been clarified and solved with my friend," he said.

"If someone felt offended because of my words through this media tool I would like to offer my sincere apologies. But I also would like you to know that never, never I referred to anyone else. Only to Son and for that reason I’ve never had the intention to offend directly or indirectly anyone. A big hug and all my respect to everyone."

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Son had responded with his own statement on the matter in an Instagram Story post on Thursday, saying: "I've spoken with Lolo. He made a mistake, he knows this and has apologised. Lolo would not mean to ever intentionally say something offensive. We are brothers and nothing has changed at all.

"We're past this, we're united, and we will be back together in pre season to fight for our club as one. Sonny."

Spurs also released a statement that day, saying: "Following a comment from Rodrigo Bentancur in an interview video clip and the player’s subsequent public apology, the club has been providing assistance in ensuring a positive outcome on the matter. This will include further education for all players in line with our diversity, equality and inclusion objectives.

"We fully support that our captain Sonny feels that he can draw a line under the incident and that the team can focus on the new season ahead. We are extremely proud of our diverse, global fanbase and playing squads. Discrimination of any kind has no place at our club, within our game or within wider society."

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