Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has said he was “ignorant” rather than racist when he used a racial slur against a Japanese man in a casino.
The England international was given a “substantial” fine and ordered to undergo diversity awareness training after a video of the incident emerged.
He said he had not realised that the term – “Jap” – is offensive.
Show Racism the Red Card said it was “encouraged” that Vardy had recognised the “huge mistake” he made.
In an excerpt from his autobiography published in The Sun, the footballer said: “The word ‘racist’ is a permanent stain against my name. It’s worse than a criminal record.
“I was angry at the time and I’d had too much to drink but I’d never have used the word ‘Jap’ if I’d known it was racist.”
Writing about the diversity awareness training, Vardy said: “The tutors explained some of the context behind the word and its meaning, dating back to the Second World War.
“It made me feel more embarrassed.”
Mistake ‘may help others’
Show Racism the Red Card said many people do not understand that “Jap” – a derogatory term for a Japanese person – is offensive.
“As an anti-racism education charity, it is important that we look at the history of the word used and help people to consider why it is regarded as racist,” it said in a statement.
“Jamie Vardy made a mistake; he has recognised it, apologised and undertaken diversity training.
“If people can learn from their mistakes and change their behaviour then not only is it unlikely that they will act in a racist way in the future, but they may also help others to modify their language and behaviour too.”
Vardy made the racial slur at Leicester’s Grosvenor Casino in July 2015.
After investigating, Leicester opted against sacking him after taking into account his “prompt apology”.