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Tennis Star Apologizes For LeBron James Post With Gorilla Emoji

These days, it’s common for people to express themselves with emojis instead of words, but an Italian tennis champion found himself in trouble with the masses after including one in his Instagram Story. Matteo Berrettini is a superstar on the tennis court, holding seven titles and ranked as a Top 10 player. However, it wasn’t his talents that drew attention recently, but a post about LeBron James that caused Berrettini to face backlash.The sports star shared a photo of James wearing a Drew League jersey and added two emojis: a crown and a gorilla. It looked as if he was honoring the basketball star, but people were quick to point out the historically racist connotations between apes and Black people.For hours, Berrettini’s fans and foes faced off on social media as his detractors called him a racist while his supporters denied the allegations. Berrettini returned with an apology, stating that he was completely unaware of the racist connection. “I am very sorry if my previous story post offended anyone,” he wrote. “I was informed that it can easily be misinterpreted so I have deleted it. Lebron is my biggest idol. Incredible role model and inspiration.”This isn’t the first time that James has been at the center of controversy of this nature; years ago, Vogue magazine was accused of using the NBA icon’s cover feature to mirror a King Kong poster. Social media continues to debate whether or not Berrettini should have apologized.[via]

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