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07th Apr 2019

Gordon Strachan releases statement on Adam Johnson comments

Kyle Picknell

Strachan appeared to equate the abuse Adam Johnson could receive if he returns to football with the racist abuse of black players

Gordon Strachan has apologised for “any unintended distress caused” after he was axed by Sky Sports following his controversial remarks on sex offender Adam Johnson and the racist abuse black footballers receive.

Strachan’s comments came during an episode of the Sky Sports show The Debate, with the former Scotland manager answering a question on Johnson’s potential return to football posed by Geoff Shreeves with the answer: “We’re talking vile abuse and things like that. Let’s say he goes out onto the pitch and people start calling him names, are going to do the same as with the racist situation? Is it alright to call him names now after doing his three years? Are we going to allow that to happen?”

Unsurprisingly, Strachan received considerable backlash for his response, which eventually forced Sky Sports to part ways with the pundit who occasionally appears as a guest on their shows.

On Sunday he released a statement apologising for his remark. It read:

“Given the response in the last 24 hours to a point made on The Debate programme on Sky Sports from over a week ago, and having reflected on it personally, it is important for me to address the issues that have arisen.

“In no way did I intended to confuse or conflate the very serious issue of racism targeted at footballers with the potential verbal abuse towards a player who has been convicted of a sexual offence.

“Having reviewed the particular segment in light of the reaction, I fully acknowledge that the imprecise use of language in my initial response has left open a perception that should easily have been avoided. For that I sincerely apologise.”

Strachan added: “I would like to take the opportunity to atone for that: to reaffirm my condemnation of the behaviour that led to [Johnson’s] conviction, to convey my heartfelt sympathy and support to the survivor, and to apologise for any unintended distress caused.”

As the 62-year-old was not a direct employee of Sky he was not subject to its disciplinary protocols following the programme. However, Sky did apologise after the broadcast, stating that: “The comments were made by a guest on The Debate. Of course, Sky Sports does not support the comments and we’re sorry for the offence they have caused.”

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