Colombian midfielder Edwin Cardona appeared to make a racist gesture toward South Korean players during the second half of a friendly between the two teams in Suwon.
It’s unclear if Cardona’s intentions were to make a “slanted-eyes” gesture, similar to the one that American baseball player Yuli Gurriel made during the World Series. But after a scuffle during a stoppage in play, Cardona clearly brought his hands to the sides of his eyes as he walked away, in an apparent attempt to mock his opponents. Many fans interpreted his actions as racist and responded with outrage.
Full video of the incident is below. It begins with an embarrassing James Rodriguez flop. Cardona’s gesture is around the 50-second mark:
Cardona, a 24-year-old midfielder for Boca Juniors in Argentina, had entered the game at halftime for Mateus Uribe. The incident occurred 17-plus minutes into the second half, with Colombia trailing 2-0.
The match was a friendly, and thus not part of an official FIFA competition, but Cardona could nonetheless face punishment – either from the international governing body or from the Colombian federation.
Colombian manager Jose Pekerman refused to comment on the incident after the match. “I didn’t see that gesture,” Pekerman said. “It was a physical game. Things happen during a game like this. I can’t comment further on an incident that I didn’t see with my own eyes.”
South Korea held on to win the game, 2-1. Both teams have qualified for the 2018 World Cup.