A Premier League player is set to be punished by English football authorities for discriminatory comments he made on social media more than four years ago.
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The comments made by Burnley striker Andre Gray between Jan. 9 and March 11, 2012 appeared anti-gay. They came to light on Saturday, when they were retweeted by other people after he scored his first Premier League goal for Burnley in the team’s 2-0 win over Liverpool. Gray released a public apology after the match.
Gray was charged with misconduct on Tuesday by the Football Association, which said the alleged comments “were abusive and/or insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.”
Gray said in his apology “the tweets were posted four years ago when I was a completely different person to the man I am now.”
“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,” the 25-year-old Gray said.
“I have a lot of regrets regarding a number of things I’ve done in the past and realize 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.”
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Gray said he wanted to clarify that he was “absolutely not homophobic” and to “ask for forgiveness to anyone I offended.”
The FA said Gray had until Aug. 31 to respond to the charge.
“He has moved a long way in life,” Burnley manager Sean Dyche said Tuesday. “He’s made that clear with an apology and also to remind the club, `It’s four years ago, I’m a different person.’
“A lot has gone on in his life to get him where he’s got to, I think he made that clear. It was authentic what he said (in the apology).”
Gray was the top scorer in the second-tier League Championship last season, helping Burnley achieve an immediate return to the Premier League.