Ravel Morrison hammered for homophobic tweet
Gay rights campaigner claims teenage striker's posting reinforces football's unwelcoming image
ON THE SAME day that the judge in the Harry Redknapp tax trial told the jury that football had "lost its way", another of the sport's practitioners landed himself in trouble with ill-advised comments.
Ravel Morrison, the 19-year-old striker who last month moved from Manchester United to West Ham United, was accused of homophobia after posting a message on Twitter. In responding to criticism from a football supporter, Morrison tweeted: "Crack head? Go suck out u little faggot your a guy that talks if u see me you try slap me I'm in manchester every week."
Though the message was soon deleted from Morrison's account, it nonetheless caused outrage among gay campaigners with Alan Duffy of The Justice Campaign telling goal.com: "It's extremely disappointing to hear that yet another professional footballer in England has used homophobic language.
"Ravel Morrison may well not be aware of the damage those kind of remarks can do, but when football stars indulge in that kind of language, it only reinforces the view that football is not a welcoming place of LGBT [Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans] fans or players."
Meanwhile the Premier League has announced that the customary handshake will go ahead on Saturday between Manchester United and Liverpool despite the fact it will mean a reunion for Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra. The last time the pair met was in October when the Liverpool striker racially abused the United defender. Suarez was subsequently banned for eight matches by the FA.
Having returned to action in Monday's goalless draw with Spurs, Suarez will be present at Old Trafford and the Premier League has now confirmed that the handshake will go ahead.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the PFA, said he believed it to be the correct decision: "If you keep things festering it will only exacerbate how the problem was initially, and in that way we will be losing the battle… If they can accept that having paid that penalty, like Suarez has, that you learn from it and move on."
Last month, when QPR and Chelsea met in the FA Cup fourth, the Football League scrapped the team handshake in order to "defuse tensions" between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand. The former is due in court in July to answer charges that he racially abused Ferdinand during a league match earlier in the season.