England’s Football Association has asked Burnley striker Andre Gray to offer some explanation regarding offensive tweets issued from his account. Prior to a hearing, Gray’s issued an apology, as the Guardian’s Louise Taylor reports :
One tweet from the 25-year-old forward, then playing for non-league Hinckley Town, appeared to condone the killing of gay people but Gray has since apologised, claiming he is now a different person to the one who posted the messages four years ago.
“Thankfully I am not the guy I was back then,” he said in a statement but it remains to be seen whether the FA will regard the combination of apology and suggestion he is a changed man as mitigating factors in this case. In June Chris Stokes, the Coventry defender, received a one-match FA ban for making a homophobic comment on Twitter. Stokes used the term “faggots” on 2 May during Chelsea’s Premier League match with Tottenham, before later removing it and apologising. He subsequently admitted breaching FA rules relating to the use of social media and, in addition to the ban, was ordered to attend an FA education course, fined £1,000 and warned as to his future conduct.
Gray’s posts re-emerged last Saturday and hit the headlines as he scored against Liverpool to help give Burnley a 2-0 win at Turf Moor. One tweet read: “Is it me or are there gays everywhere? #Burn #Die #Makesmesick.”