"This is the worst comment made by a national footballer"
Indian footballer Sandesh Jhingan sparked controversy after he was heard saying he “played a match with women”.
The remark was made following an Indian Super League match between his ATK Mohun Bagan side and his former team Kerala Blasters.
The match ended 2-2 and as Jhingan leaves the pitch, he is heard saying:
“I have played a match with women, with women.”
The video was reportedly uploaded by ATK Mohun Bagan before being deleted. But the clip went viral and football fans condemned Jhingan for his comment.
While some said the remark was “sexist”, others said it was “shameful”.
Ladies and gentlemen, presenting to you the vice captain of Indian National Team and the biggest sexist you'll see. " played with girls" what bro girls are that bad? What a shame.
— Aswathy (@RM_madridbabe1) February 20, 2022
One comment read: “This is the worst comment made by a national footballer like Sandesh Jhingan in the history of Indian football and there is no space for defending that.”
Some supporters of Kerala Blasters believed Jhingan directed the comment towards his former team.
In response, they called for the club’s number 21, which had been retired in honour of Jhingan, to be brought back.
@SandeshJhingan lost our respect. @KeralaBlasters bring back Jersey #21
Absolute disgrace to all sporting fraternity by disrespecting woman.@atkmohunbaganfc deleteing video can't make a man holy.@IndianFootball@WomensFootieIND@NikhilB1818
— Manjappada (@kbfc_manjappada) February 20, 2022
The criticism prompted Sandesh Jhingan to issue an apology.
In a Twitter thread, he wrote: “When you are so driven to win all points for your team, it’s disappointing when you finish with just one.
“In the heat of the moment, we say a lot of things, and what’s being circulated should be seen in the same perspective.
“First things first. The comment was not intended towards Kerala Blasters FC.”
“I have always respected every opponent, and I have a lot of friends at the club. I’d never disrespect the club especially when I have given my blood and sweat for them.
“Those who know me personally will tell you that I have always been a huge supporter of the Indian women’s team and women in general.
“Don’t forget that I have a mother, my sisters and my wife, and I’ve always been respectful towards women.
“What you hear is an argument I had with my teammate after the game. What I said was a result of the disappointment for not winning the game.
“I told my teammate not to make excuses, so anyone taking my comment differently is only doing it to tarnish my name.
“If my comments have hurt anyone, my apologies. It was never intended to create any harm to anyone. Have a good day.”
Despite the lengthy post, some people did not think it was a satisfactory apology.
One said: “How hard is it to say, ‘I realise that the comment I made in the heat of the moment was misogynistic and I deeply regret it and apologise to everyone. I will ensure that such behaviour is not repeated’.”
Another said: “Shame that this guy is still making ‘I have a mother and sister’ [argument] to justify the misogyny.”
Others believe Jhingan does not have self-control during such situations.
“You are someone who doesn’t have control in the heat of the moment. Don’t be so driven to lose control of your head and mouth!”