LONDON (AP) — Chelsea apologized to China on Sunday for social media comments by Brazilian player Kenedy which it accepted "caused great offense and hurt the feelings" of the country during the Premier League champions' pre-season tour.
The 21-year-old Kenedy has been "strongly reprimanded and disciplined" for the Instagram posts, Chelsea said. The since-deleted messages featured a profanity relating to China and a message mocking a security guard he photographed.
"Even though he quickly deleted the messages and apologized, and the club also apologized via our Chinese social media channels, the damage had already been done," the London club said. "Chelsea Football Club once again solemnly and sincerely apologizes.
"Kenedy's actions were a mistake that he will learn greatly from. His behavior does not represent the entire team and does not align with the club's high expectations and strict requirements of its young players."
The messages were posted ahead of Chelsea's 3-0 victory over Arsenal in a friendly on Saturday in Beijing where Kenedy was jeered.
"Everyone at Chelsea Football Club has the utmost respect and admiration for China and loves our Chinese fans," Chelsea said. "It is because of this that the negative impact we have seen over the last two days has left us shocked and saddened. Once again, we sincerely apologize for the hurt caused to our Chinese fans as well as to the Chinese people."
On the next leg of Chelsea's tour of Asia, Antonio Conte's side plays Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in Singapore.