Andre Gray

Gay matters twitters

Andre Gray's tweets were highlighted on Saturday, the day he scored his first top-flight goal to help Burnley beat Liverpool 2-0

The Football Association has charged Burnley's Andre Gray with misconduct over homophobic posts by the striker on Twitter in 2012.

One tweet from the 25-year-old Premier League player's account appeared to condone killing gay people.

The tweets from four years ago were posted when Gray was playing for non-league Hinckley United.

Gray, who is charged with bringing the game into disrepute, has until 6pm on 31 August to respond to the charge.

He apologised and asked "for forgiveness" for the posts, saying he was now a "completely different person" and did not "hold the beliefs written in those tweets".

The posts, which also contained offensive terms, were deleted on Saturday soon after being highlighted.

Gray's apology in full

"I would like to respond to media reports with regards to previous tweets posted from my Twitter account.

"Firstly, I want to offer a sincere and unreserved apology to anybody I may have offended in relation to these tweets. The tweets were posted four years ago when I was a completely different person to the man I am now. I was at a very different point in my life back then - one that I've worked hard to move on from.

"Thankfully a lot has changed in my life since then. I have experienced a lot over the past four years and have had to take responsibility for a number of things in my life which has enabled me to mature and grow as a person since that time.

"I have a lot of regrets regarding a number of things I've done in the past and realise I have made some big mistakes, none more so than these tweets, but I would like to stress that I've worked incredibly hard to completely transform my life since that time.

"To clarify, I do not hold the beliefs written in those tweets whatsoever. I can assure everybody that I am absolutely not homophobic and as said previously I can only apologise and ask for forgiveness to anyone I offended.

"Thankfully I am not the guy I was back then and will continue to work hard both on and off the pitch to become a better person."

Speaking before Gray's apology, campaign group Stonewall said the attitudes expressed in the tweets can become "a barrier to lesbian, gay, bi and trans people participating".

"While these tweets are of course historic, unfortunately homophobic attitudes and language continue to be an issue in sport, whether that's on the pitch, in the terraces or on social media," a spokesperson said.

"It's extremely important that we work together to kick these attitudes out of sport, and create supportive and inclusive environments that enable everyone to feel accepted without exception."

Thousands of social media users condemned Gray for the tweets.

A statement from Burnley said the club "do not condone any discriminatory behaviour by any employee".

It added: "As Andre has made clear in a statement on his personal account, these are social posts from four years ago, and in this time he has completely transformed his life.

"The player has also apologised and denied he is, in any way, shape or form, homophobic."

Source: BBC Sports 
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