Chelsea winger Kenedy has received a formal warning from the English Football Association (FA) over inappropriate social media comments posted during a pre-season tour of China. The derogatory posts included a profanity relating to China and a message mocking a Chinese security guard he photographed.
In wake of the incident, Chelsea sent Kenedy back to the UK and issued an official apology. Chinese media outlets were highly critical of the 21-year-old player.
The FA launched an investigation into the Brazilian and sought the advice of an independent linguistics expert before reaching a conclusion. Based on the linguistics expert's advice, the FA deemed that "the offense fell short of aggravated misconduct." The warning will stay on Kenedy's record, and any similar breach in the future will likely lead to a charge.
However, Chinese netizens were not satisfied with the FA's investigation and the result triggered fresh anger. Some thought basing a decision on the advice of a single "linguistics expert" was not balanced or thorough.
Many netizens insisted that Kenedy's comment was an obvious incident of racial discrimination, and could not understand why the FA gave a seemingly lenient punishment.
One user of Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo, @Tianjilan15Chelsea, argued that the FA didn't take the case seriously. User @NoodlesloveChelsea said neither the FA nor Chelsea Football Club were welcome in China.
Actually, "racial discrimination" has occurred several times on the pitch in the Premier League. However, the punishments have been far more severe than that given to Kenedy.
Former Chelsea player John Terry was banned for four matches and fined 220,000 British pounds by the FA over his racial insults to QPR player Anton Ferdinand. Former Liverpool star Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches and fined 40,000 British pounds after he was found guilty of using "insulting words with a reference" to Manchester United player Patrice Evra.
Why did Kenedy only receive an official warning as punishment?
Chelsea Football Club has not yet made any comment about Kenedy's punishment.