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.”
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.