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Basketball Ireland 'conducting full investigation' after CEO's Raheem Sterling penalty comment

Bernard O’Byrne apologises for ‘an error of judgement’.

Apology: Basketball Ireland CEO Bernard O'Byrne.
Apology: Basketball Ireland CEO Bernard O'Byrne.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Updated Jul 9th 2021, 7:57 PM

BASKETBALL IRELAND IS “following internal processes and conducting a full investigation” after comments made by its CEO, Bernard O’Byrne, on social media.

O’Byrne apologised earlier today for an online comment made following England’s Euro 2020 win over Denmark.

O’Byrne posted “Black Dives Matter” in reference to the decision to award a penalty for a foul on Raheem Sterling, which led to England’s winning goal.

A statement issued by Basketball Ireland this evening reads:

“Basketball Ireland’s Board met today to discuss the recent comments made by its CEO Bernard O’Byrne on social media. We are following internal processes and conducting a full investigation.

“Inclusion and diversity is inherent within basketball in Ireland, it is part of the fabric of Basketball Ireland and the Board want to reaffirm its commitment to both. Our clubs, players, coaches and volunteers throughout the country work so hard in their communities, embracing all, and this continues to be the case.”

Basketball Ireland chairman, Paul McDevitt, said:

“The Board of Basketball Ireland held an emergency meeting today. We are fully aware of the gravity of the situation. We cannot comment on our ongoing internal investigation and would urge patience while this is completed.”

The comment on Facebook, which was made from O’Byrne’s personal account, has since been deleted.

“My choice of words commenting on a penalty incident were not thought out,” said O’Byrne, who was chief executive of the FAI in the 1990s and early 2000s.

“It was an error of judgement and I wholeheartly [sic] apologise for the comments.”

In a statement issued on Thursday evening, Basketball Ireland said: “Basketball Ireland CEO Bernard O’Byrne has deleted a recent social media post, which made reference to an incident at Euro 2020. The comment was made from his personal account.

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“Basketball Ireland would like to stress its ongoing commitment to inclusion and basketball’s diverse community, which has been led by Mr O’Byrne in recent years.”

- additional reporting by Emma Duffy.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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