Burnley manager Sean Dyche has backed Andre Gray after the Football Association handed the striker a four-game ban for offensive social media posts.
After Gray scored in a 2-0 Premier League win over Liverpool last month, historic posts from his Twitter account were widely shared, including one that read: “Is it me or are there gays everywhere? #Burn #Die #Makesmesick”.
Gray issued an apology for the posts, saying he was now a “wholly different person” and did “not hold the beliefs written in those tweets whatsoever”, but the 25-year-old was found guilty of six aggravated breaches of FA Rule E3(1) on Friday.
Dyche noted many of Gray’s abusive tweets were sent in 2012, while he was playing for non-League side Hinckley Town, as he defended his player.
“He has been punished for something that he said four years ago,” Dyche told The Telegraph.
“The world is clambering for football to put everything right, but there is a common sense view and there is a politically correct view.
“He came to me straightaway and said, ‘this was me in the past, it’s not who I am now’. He prepared his own statement and gave it to the press people here.
“He’s still got a life away from football and he still has quirks, many people do. You can’t just jump out of one life and into another one.
“But he was authentic with me, he was honest with me and I said okay. He’s apologised for it and he knows it was wrong.
“I can’t control people’s lives four years ago, I can only try and put them in the right place now to be respectful and to conduct themselves in the right way, which he has done since he’s been here.”
Gray – who is yet to comment on his ban – will miss Monday’s game at home to Watford, as well as Burnley’s upcoming fixtures against Arsenal, Southampton and Everton.
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