Cyrus Christie responds to racist abuse directed at him

Ireland defender was subject of racist tweets following defeat to Denmark last Tuesday

Ireland’s Cyrus Christie leaves the pitch after the World Cup qualifying playoff defeat to Denmark. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ireland’s Cyrus Christie leaves the pitch after the World Cup qualifying playoff defeat to Denmark. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Cyrus Christie has responded to the racist abuse directed at him on social media after Ireland’s World Cup playoff defeat to Denmark last week.

The FAI confirmed on Sunday night that they had referred the incidents to An Gardaí Siochana after James McClean alluded to it at the PFAI awards ceremony.

McClean said that Christie had been left in tears by tweets from an account with a made-up name which told him to go to Jamaica and threatened to lynch him.

On Monday evening Christie responded to the abuse with a statement released on Twitter where he mentioned that such abuse has occured for a number of months, and not just in the last week since the playoff defeat.

The statement read: “There have been a number of racist comments which have been brought to my attention during the World Cup qualifying campaign over the last couple of months and most recently last week. These comments are not representative of our fans or our sport. We are all deeply upset to not reach the World Cup finals and are hurting just as much as everyone else.

“It is deeply saddening that racism is still part of the game we all enjoy and love. I strongly believe we need to stand up against these individuals who do not belong in football or any other sport.”

McClean has been praised by anti-racism groups for bringing the abuse to light after he spoke about it in his acceptance speech following his naming as the FAI’s overseas player of the year.

“Everyone has got their football opinions. Everybody watched the game and it was poor, we know that,” McClean said.

“But some of the comments afterwards, which my Instagram post was about, went beyond football.

“For example; I know there’s journalists here and it might go out there, but one player in particular was told to go and play for Jamaica. Make of that what you want.

“It really upset him. My comments weren’t based on football, they were more personal. That’s for a player who has been a good servant to his country and it cut deep.

“That player was in tears by the way. You’ve just missed out on the World Cup and then to have that.”

It’s not the first time the 25-year-old defender has suffered such abuse and he spoke previously about how his uncles, the boxer Errol Christie, helped him deal with it while he was growing up in Coventry.

“My uncle helped me stay on the straight and narrow ... not to let racism embitter me and twist me,” he said recently. “The use of the N-word was very familiar to me when I was a kid – even when I’d play on a Sunday morning. As you’d beat an opponent, even when I would only be 12 or 13, you’d hear parents screaming, ‘Stop that f***ing n****r’.”

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