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Green Bay Packers wide receiver Devin Funchess apologized Sunday for using an anti-Asian slur during a news conference hours earlier.
The 27-year-old told reporters he could tell they were smiling even with their facemasks on because their eyes appeared “chi–y.”
In a statement posted to Twitter on Sunday, Funchess wrote: “I want to apologize for the disparaging remark I used tonight. It was not OK.
“I have grown to develop deep personal and business relationships in the Asian community! I meant no harm, and those that know me know I have love and respect for all cultures and people. I will learn from this and continue to grow as a person. I’m forever sorry!”
Funchess’ remark comes as anti-Asian hate crimes have risen over the last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic and just days an Italian soccer team tweeted a photo many found racist toward the Asian community.
On Thursday, the Juventus Women soccer club posted a picture of defender Cecilia Salvai slanting her eyes.
The team deleted the photo after 25 minutes and said it “was not meant to cause controversy or have any racial undertones, may have offended anyone.”
A second-round pick out of Michigan in 2015, Funchess is entering his first season with the Packers.
He signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with Green Bay last offseason but opted out of the 2020 season due to the pandemic.
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