Watch: John Barnes blasts 'ridiculous' accusations of racism aimed at Bernardo Silva over tweet to Benjamin Mendy

Scroll down to watch John Barnes defend Bernardo Silva on Sky Sports News
Scroll down to watch John Barnes defend Bernardo Silva on Sky Sports News

John Barnes has hit back at the "ridiculous" of racism aimed at Bernardo Silva for his tweet directed at Manchester City team-mate Benjamin Mendy and says he has done nothing wrong.

Silva posted pictures on social media on Sunday comparing a picture of Mendy, with whom he also played at Monaco, as a child to the character on a packet of Conguitos chocolates, with the caption "Guess who?".

Anti-discriminatory body Kick It Out called on the Football Association to take action, referring to the contents of post as a racist stereotype. The governing body has written to City requesting their observations.

But the former England and Liverpool star told Sky Sports News: "There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. It's ridiculous. It's a cartoon, and in many respects I've seen it, and I think he looks like a young Mendy. I don't see what the issue is."

Asked if he thought comparing Mendy to the cartoon character, which depicts an African tribesman, was racial stereotyping, he said: "No. But if you then show the original cartoon and then look at the ramifications socially and psychologically in terms of the history of racism, then in that context you may then say that.

"But all he's doing is showing a little black caricature - and I think he's quite cute - and a picture of Mendy and says they look alike. I don't see what the issue is.

People have got to ask themselves why they are offended by that. If you are offended by the cartoon which in this day and age is unacceptable - although it was made a long time ago - then fine. But to be offended by a picture of a cute little boy and Benjamin Mendy who looks like the little boy? Why should anyone be offended by that."

When asked whether he thought Kick It Out were wrong to claim the original tweet was discriminatory, Barnes said: "Yes. Why is it discriminatory? They've said they think it is but for what reason? If he'd posted the cartoon and talked about the cartoon then yes, they can say it's discriminatory. But it's just a picture of two people who some may argue look alike - and as friends they probably have banter like this.

"If Kick It Out come out and say why they think it's discriminatory then maybe I'll have a different opinion but it can't be discriminatory by just looking at those two pictures and saying it's racist."

Earlier, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola strongly defended Silva.

He said: "I don't know what is going to happen but they should put the focus on other issues. Bernardo is one of the most lovely people I have ever met in my life.

"He speaks four or five languages - that is the best way to understand how open-minded he is - and one of his best friends is Mendy. He is like a brother for him. The image for the two is not about the colour of the skin.

"If they want to do that, to ask Bernardo, we'd be open to talk, but first to do that you want to know exactly which person are you talking about.

"If something happens it would be a mistake because Bernardo is an exceptional person."

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