Griezmann didn’t hang around. Forty-eight hours only after an investigation by the “Washington Post” accusing the Huawei group of helping the Chinese government to suppress the Uighur minority, the FC Barcelona striker published a statement on his Instagram account (30 million subscribers): “Following strong suspicions according to which Huawei would have contributed to the development of a“ Uighur alert ”thanks to facial recognition software, I am announcing that I am putting an immediate end to the partnership binding me to this company. ”
And invite Huawei to “Take concrete action as quickly as possible to condemn this mass repression”.
Antoine Griezmann Post Instgram
Usually, it is brands that break advertising contracts with athletes. Among the most famous victims, Tiger Woods (infidelity), Maria Sharapova and Lance Armstrong (doping), or boxer Manny Pacquiao (homophobic remarks).
But seeing an athlete sit on a pile of gold – several hundred thousand euros a year for Griezmann – in the name of moral values is a first.
3. Sandwich man
Antoine Griezmann had been Huawei’s ambassador to France since 2017. Negotiations were underway to extend his contract. In a few years, and especially since his title of world champion, the footballer has become a sort of clone of David Beckham, emblem of brands of all kinds: Sport 2000, Electronic Arts (video games), Gillette or Head & Shoulders shampoo. . “Grizou” is today one of the highest paid French sportsmen (26.7 million dollars in earnings last year according to “Forbes” magazine).
China’s drift, an increasingly uninhibited hyperpower
Already, when he was playing at the Basque club Real Sociedad, Antoine Griezmann had embraced the “ikurrina” – the Basque flag – in support of a movement calling for the transfer of ETA activists to prisons in the Basque Country.
More recently, he posed on the cover of the magazine “Têtu” to denounce homophobia in football, or was moved after the video showing the beating by police officers of producer Michel Zecler. “My France hurts”, he posted on Instagram.
The only spot in this civic journey, a photo published in 2017 on Twitter where he appears disguised as a black basketball player, afro cut and black painted skin. The cliché evokes the blackface, a racist practice born in the United States which consisted in denigrating blacks. General indignation.
Griezmann, who didn’t know what a blackface, remove the photo. “I admit it’s awkward on my part. If I hurt some people, I apologize ”, he writes.
Tibetans and Uighurs, these “barbaric” minorities that China represses relentlessly
Griezmann’s religious convictions are perhaps not unrelated to his forays into the political field: among his many tattoos on the arms, the Virgin Mary and the figure of Christ. “By influence, I have been immersed in religion since I was little, he wrote in his autobiography [« Derrière le sourire », éditions Robert Laffont, 2017]. I continue, from time to time, to light candles in churches. “
7. Bad pass
His brilliance on Huawei allows “Grizou” to forget his bad footballing pass. Since his transfer from Atlético de Madrid to FC Barcelona in July 2019, the player is struggling, unable to blend in with Barça’s special game: only three goals scored since the start of the championship. In the midst of financial slump, the Catalan club would consider parting from him at the end of the season.
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Barca star Lionel Messi reportedly dislikes Griezmann, and makes him feel it. This is the reason for the failure of the French. This is in any case what his former agent, Eric Olhats says. “Messi is both an emperor and a monarch, denounced the latter last month. It is the regime of terror: either you are with it or you are against it. “ In reaction, a Barça supporter came to alpagate Griezmann at the end of a training: “Messi, we respect him! “ he ordered her.
Until then, Griezmann’s career had always been shown as an example: the irresistible rise of a whipper that no French club wanted and who, by dint of self-sacrifice, had ended up becoming the equal of the greatest. The legend, told to the point of thirst, was the subject of a book, a three-volume comic, a Netflix documentary … Not to mention this other tattoo, still on his right arm, of a quote from Saint-Exupéry: “Make your life a dream, and a dream a reality. “
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At almost 30 years old, would Griezmann already project himself into the post-football era? In addition to his interventions in the public debate, the player has embarked on the world of horses. With his father, he has just created the Griezmann stable. In September, during the yearling sales in Deauville, he bought four trotters for 307,000 euros. He now owns around ten horses, all housed in Saint-Romain-la-Motte (Loire), with trainer Mickaël Cormy.