Former Tyrone footballer, Tommy McGuigan, has apologised for encouraging his followers to 'punch a jew' in a tweet sent in late July during the worst of the Gaza conflict.
The comments were picked up by a number of Israeli based websites. His tweet, which has since been deleted, was retweeted by accounts such as @Anti-SemiticTweets.
Speaking to the Tyrone Herald, McGuigan has apologised and said his comments were sparked by seeing images of the war in Gaza. He insisted that he was not a public figure and that his comments were 'just a joke for the people I hang around with.' He indicated that he now appreciates more fully the public nature of Twitter.
He said he was contacted by a London based Jewish newspaper columnist who wanted to confront him over the remark but McGuigan said that after speaking to him, the columnist accepted 'it was a joke' and 'agreed to let it go.'
The comments received some coverage in the Israeli press, featuring on the Channel 7 news. The comments were covered by Arutz Sheva, which erroneously referred to McGuigan as 'Irish soccer star Tommy McGuigan.'
It noted that 'It is unclear whether or not any disciplinary action has yet been taken against the soccer star.'