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Ireland basketball CEO apologizes for post about Sterling

July 9, 2021 GMT
England's Raheem Sterling, left, is fouled by Denmark's Mathias Jensen and a penalty is awarded during the Euro 2020 soccer semifinal match between England and Denmark at Wembley stadium in London, Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (Laurence Griffiths/Pool Photo via AP)
England's Raheem Sterling, left, is fouled by Denmark's Mathias Jensen and a penalty is awarded during the Euro 2020 soccer semifinal match between England and Denmark at Wembley stadium in London, Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (Laurence Griffiths/Pool Photo via AP)

DUBLIN (AP) — The chief executive of Ireland’s basketball federation has apologized for an offensive social media post about England soccer player Raheem Sterling.

Bernard O’Byrne wrote “BLACK DIVES MATTER!!!” in response to a BBC Facebook post about the controversial penalty won by Sterling in England’s 2-1 victory over Denmark in the European Championship semifinals.

The penalty was awarded by the referee in extra time. A video review of the incident confirmed the decision.

“My choice of words commenting on a penalty incident were not thought out,” O’Byrne said in a statement issued by Basketball Ireland late Thursday. “It was an error of judgement and I wholeheartly apologize for the comments.”

The governing body said O’Byrne had made the comment from his personal account and that the post has since been deleted.

Basketball Ireland’s board met Friday in an emergency session to discuss the incident.

“We are following internal processes and conducting a full investigation,” Basketball Ireland said in a statement after the meeting.

“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,” the statement continued. “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 added in the same statement that they 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,” he said.

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