A day after becoming the victim of social media trolls and memes for a faux pas, Kerala sports minister EP Jayarajan has come forward to admit the "mistake" made by him. The minister had become a butt of jokes after he paid tribute to the legendary American boxer Muhammad Ali, calling him the "pride of Kerala for winning gold medals for the state" during a Malayalam news channel's live call on Saturday, June 4.
"I was travelling to Kannur to attend a programme when Manorama News channel called me. The person said, 'our Muhammad Ali, who has won many gold medals has passed away in America' and asked me to express my condolences as soon as possible. That time, I wasn't aware they were speaking about the legendary American boxer, who had retired 40 years ago. That's why I made the mistake. Within minutes, I understood I was asked to speak about world champion Muhammad Ali and I gave the right condolence message to all other media who contacted me later. However, this fact was misinterpreted and spread. I request you to ignore all these [translated]," Jayarajan posted on his unverified Facebook page.
For the uninitiated, in a video that was recorded by a person who was watching the news channel, the sports minister is heard saying, "I just heard that Muhammad Ali died in America. He was a prominent sports personality in Kerala. He has won gold medal and made Kerala famous in the world of sports. I express my condolences." Soon, netizens started creating troll messages and memes against the minister and Jayarajan's faux pas became one of the most trending topics on social media after the video went viral.
However, Manorama News has claimed that they had made the call to the minister live after informing him the details of the boxing legend, including the reason of his demise. "After realising the mistake made by the minister, the call was disconnected without asking much questions and was not aired later," the channel reported.
Read the full post of EP Jayarajan here: