Son Heung-min and Tottenham break silence on Rodrigo Bentancur's offensive comment

Rodrigo Bentancur was back on the pitch for Tottenham in their 2-1 win over Crystal Palace
-Credit: (Image: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Son Heung-min says he has spoken with Rodrigo Bentancur and that the two Tottenham players are "past this, we're united" after the Uruguayan made an offensive comment during an interview about his captain and Korean people.

During the televised interview ahead of the Copa America, the Spurs midfielder had 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 caused offence throughout the Korean community and outside of it, with people seeing it as a racist comment, and Kick It Out, the organisation which seeks to end racism and discrimination in sport, said on Wednesday: "Kick It Out has 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."

Bentancur had earlier in the week apologised to the Spurs captain in an Instagram story, saying: "Sony (sic) brother! I apologise to you for what happened, it was just a very bad joke! You know what I love you and I would never disrespect you or hurt you or anyone else! I love you brother!"

Now Son has 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."

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Spurs also released a statement, 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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