Kick it out

'One of our own' - FAI and Irish fans come out in support of Christie after racial abuse

The Ireland full-back has been targeted online since last week’s World Cup play-off defeat.

LAST UPDATE | 20 Nov 2017

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION of Ireland and Irish fans have come together in support of Cyrus Christie after it emerged that he was racially abused online.

Middlesbrough defender Christie, who has been deputising at right-back while captain Seamus Coleman recovers from his double leg-break, was targeted on Twitter after Ireland’s 5-1 World Cup play-off loss to Denmark last week.

A number of the trolls told the English-born player to “go and play for Jamaica”, and several outlets including the Irish Independent have reported today that Gardaí are investigating the matter after he was left “in tears”.

Since the news broke, supporters have been getting behind Christie, while the FAI posted a picture of the 25-year-old this evening along with the words “One of our own”.

And a joint statement released by Show Racism the Red Card and the Professional Footballers’ Association of Ireland (PFAI) has praised Ireland winger James McClean for highlighting the issue in his interview during the PFAI awards in Dublin over the weekend.

“Ireland’s James McClean is to be commended for speaking out about racist comments
aimed at team mate Cyrus Christie in the aftermath of Ireland’s play- off with Denmark,” it reads.

“Christie’s team-mate, James McClean, revealed the existence of the tweets at Saturday
evening’s PFA Ireland awards in Dublin, citing it as an example of what the team had been subjected to in the immediate aftermath of the game. He said that Christie, already deeply upset over the outcome of the game, had shown the messages to other players in the dressing room at the Aviva Stadium.

“We spoke afterwards and it really got to a few players,” said McClean in an interview on
stage after he had been presented with the award for Overseas Player of the Year.

“Alleged racist comments have been referred by the FAI to the Gardai for investigation. The tweet urged him to go to Jamaica and boasted about wanting to lynch him.”

“There is no place for racism in sport or on social media,” said Garrett Mullan of Show Racism the Red Card. “We welcome the fact that the FAI and Gardai are taking action but social media outlets also have a role to play in responding to racism.

“As important as reporting such vile incidents is the support that someone receives from
those around and in this case, it is clear that Cyrus Christie’s team mates have been affected by this incident.

We welcome the fact that James McClean has shone a light on to some of the nasty elements out there. His support for his fellow team mate will help the team and Cyrus in particular, to emerge stronger from this incident.”

Stephen Mc Guinness, general secretary of the PFA Ireland added: “We fully support all efforts to stamp out racism from the game and that includes comments targeting players on social media.

“The nature of this incident is really shocking and no player should be subjected to that and we hope that the perpetrator is called to account.

“This incident should serve as a message to all involved in the game from grassroots upwards that racism needs a response from authorities and team mates. It cannot be ignored”.

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