The Football Association (FA) is to investigate a social media post by Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli which appeared to contain anti-Semitic and racist references.Balotelli, 24, deleted the post from his Instagram page of Nintendo computer game character Super Mario.The Italian later tweeted to deny the text of the post was offensive.The FA confirmed it was looking into the post, while Liverpool said they will speak to Balotelli.A club spokesman told BBC Sport: “We are aware of the posting which has since been promptly deleted by the player.”We will be speaking to the player about the issue.” Responding to criticism on Twitter, Balotelli tweeted: “My Mom is Jewish so all of you shut up please.”He also described reposting the image as “my unlucky moment”.However, former FA executive and current chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council Simon Johnson said Balotelli should face action.”We abhor all forms of racism, wherever it is found,” Johnson told the Daily Telegraph. “We call upon the FA to investigate this offensive social media post and to take action if appropriate if we are to succeed in kicking racism out of football.” Under the FA’s social media guidelines, the minimum ban for race-related breaches of rules is five games.In September, Merseyside Police investigated racist remarks made to Balotelli on Twitter after he posted a message during Manchester United’s 5-3 defeat against Leicester City.
BOSTON — He does the things everyone says to do. He focuses on his work, on practice and film. He answers questions about trade talks politely, but with time-worn cliches. He’s not thinking about the trade deadline, he says, he’s thinking about basketball.But Kyle Kuzma has a phone.That is enough for anyone on the Lakers these days to be swallowed up in the latest report or rumor, whatever it might be. Even when he attempts to stay off Twitter and Instagram, deliberately shielding himself from the howl of speculation, someone might text him: Did you see this?“Obviously it’s everywhere,” Kuzma said Tuesday night, in the closest tone to surrender that he’s had all season. “You can’t really not see it, whether you’re on your phone or wherever. But at the end of the day, we got to figure out a way to block it out and still perform and play.” Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years There’s only one obvious solution: Make a playoff push.In the short term, the Clippers helped make that easier for the Lakers late Tuesday night, trading away Tobias Harris and potentially easing up the competition to make the playoffs in the West. The Lakers stood two games behind the Clippers and the Sacramento Kings in the loss column as of Wednesday morning, and with James rounding into health, it still seems salvageable to have the “special season” Johnson forecasted to reporters back in September.Rondo, who has been on teams facing similar odds before, said the Lakers can turn things around. They just have to start winning again.“Winning cures everything. Winning quiets everything,” Rondo said. “Obviously it would be different talks if we had won the game tonight, but we didn’t. That’s part of it. We got to bounce back.” Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions The most evident fissures have appeared in the past week, with an in-house spat after a loss to Golden State on Saturday, followed by the no-show in Indiana. Can the Lakers move on, even if they aren’t traded?There are doubts.“I don’t know if it’s that simple,” veteran guard Rajon Rondo said. “It’s not like the trade deadline happens, and then everything is going to be back to normal. Guys are hearing it. It’s a different mentality to have, obviously. Some of the young guys have never been through this situation. I can’t speak up for them, but I know when I was that age, you may say it doesn’t affect you, but it can mess with you a little bit mentally.”It was natural for the players to be peppered with questions afterward about how anxiety over the trade deadline had affected them. There was a lot of discussion about social media and staying off of it.Forward Brandon Ingram said he is “not really on social media like that anymore,” while rookie Moe Wagner said paying attention to it can get a player caught up in “a world that’s not reality.” Kuzma, a second-year forward, joked he might adopt an approach he saw in the movie “Bird Box,” in which the main characters wrap their eyes with blindfolds to avoid seeing their greatest fear.Such speculation can awaken the deepest anxieties of young players: Does my team want me and believe in me? Will I have to move from the only team I’ve known and start again?James said he’s been through the ringer in terms of speculation: He stopped paying too much attention to negative news on social media in his younger years.“I think when I was younger and there was a lot of things that was said about me as far as the way I approach the game or the way I play the game or my championship level,” he said. “Could I get to a championship level? Could I be a champion? Am I ever going to win at the highest level? That was a way to escape it. I just stopped. I stopped listening. I stopped watching it.”Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.But James is also first to admit he lacks a certain empathy for players caught in trade-deadline scenarios: He’s one of the last players any team would trade away. Even his acknowledgement that “it has to be tough for our young guys” had a somewhat hollow ring, as James himself sparked intrigue around Davis earlier in the season by saying he would love to team up with the Pelicans big man.And even though the veterans were quick to say the “young guys” could be struggling with the deadline, it’s also apparent experienced players are struggling, too. Lance Stephenson admitted it the most openly, saying he felt being in trade talks, “you feel like you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do.”It’s reasonable to speculate that the many veterans who signed one-year deals with championship aspirations – including Rondo, Stephenson, JaVale McGee, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Beasley – would find it difficult to be suddenly relocated to a ground-level rebuild in New Orleans. The fact that they’ve been through such rumor mills before helps little.If the deadline passes without the Lakers securing Davis, they’d have an equally ambitious project on their hands: attempting to restore faith in the group. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, who have made little secret of the fact they’re on the hunt for a big fish like Davis, would have to find ways to smooth out strained relationships, particularly with the young players who were once considered foundational pieces of an organically grown core. And that won’t be easy, considering the Lakers would be expected bidders for Davis again this summer.Related Articles Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThat hope was unfulfilled that night in Indianapolis, as the Lakers (27-27) were walloped by the Indiana Pacers, who were playing without injured star Victor Oladipo. Even with LeBron James, the team looked listless, distracted and almost completely without a fighting spirit. In the context of the public updates of trade talks circling the team like vultures, it made a lot of sense.While reports have cited that the Lakers’ front office has slightly cooled on upping trade proposals for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, there’s still a strong possibility the franchise could make a league-shaking blockbuster deal before the trade deadline passes at noon PST Thursday.There’s a lot on the line: By all accounts, the Lakers would have to give up their most promising young players, a pack of future draft picks and take on at least one of New Orleans’ unwieldy contracts. But many think Davis is worth it: At 25, he’s one of the league’s best scorers, rebounders and shot-blockers, and the Lakers believe pairing Davis with James could vault them back into championship contention – where the franchise believes it belongs.But there’s also another nagging question that comes into play if the Lakers put down their cards before the deadline and wait for the summer: What happens if they don’t make the deal?The practical answer is obvious: The Lakers would have to play out the rest of the season with the team close to its current form, a mixture of young talent and veterans on one-year deals around James. But it’s worth wondering if the volatility of the last week-and-a-half – along with the collective burden on the team’s psyche – will have a lasting effect on the players and coaches in the locker room. Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error