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Mario Balotelli in Social Media "Storm"

Mario Balotelli has become involved in a racism "storm" after posting a picture on Instagram.

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Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Mario Balotelli has suffered a lot of racism growing up in Italy and continued to experience abuse as a professional footballer. It is almost certain that he would not be one to post any pictures through social media to belittle or stereotype people based on the colour of their skin or ethnicity.

The Italian international reposted a picture on his Instagram account about Nintendo's flagship character, Super Mario, being a mixture of different nationalities to support diversity, holding hands, and being together. "Super Mario" is one of Balotelli's nicknames, even if there's been less "super" in Mario's performances this season. The message was one that Balotelli probably thought would be good to promote and his nickname would naturally draw him closer to the idea of respecting people from all over the world.

Unfortunately, the image ended with the words that Super Mario "jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a jew". There's also the question of whether Mexicans can be reduced to a certain kind of stereotypical look that Nintendo's popular plumber bears. The image has since been deleted by Balotelli but can be seen on the Telegraph's article on the issue, which also raises the possibility of action by the FA. Balotelli described the image as an "unlucky moment" in his response on twitter, which was covered by the Liverpool Echo.

While Balotelli clearly meant no harm to the groups targeted by the image, it's difficult to understand how he didn't see the two offensive lines at the bottom. Perhaps he scanned the image quickly while doing something else, saw its supposedly positive message, and shared it with his followers. Sometimes information on a current issue or controversy is passed as fact on twitter then retweeted by many to their collective embarrassment.

Did Mario Balotelli intend to insult himself and his adoptive mother? Of course not. Is this a matter for the FA and Liverpool to investigate? Probably not. In late September, Balotelli was subjected to racist abuse on twitter after a joke aimed in the direction of fierce rivals Manchester United. A few months later, there's another headline for the English media to feast over despite significant difference in context. He may need to be a little more careful on social media when reposting images in the future, but should there be any action against Liverpool's struggling striker?

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