The FA has charged Burnley striker Andre Gray for the homophobic tweets he sent in 2012 which were shared across social media on the weekend he scored his first Premier League goal.
Gray, 25, issued an apology on Saturday evening after social media posts he made when he was a non-league player four years ago resurfaced in the aftermath of his strike against Liverpool at Turf Moor.
In one tweet, Gray had written: “Is it me or are there gays everywhere? #Burn #Die #Makesmesick”
An FA statement read: “Burnley’s Andre Gray has been charged with misconduct in respect of social media comments made between 9 January 2012 and 11 March 2012.
It is alleged the comments were abusive and/or insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute contrary to FA Rule E3(1).
It is further alleged that these breaches include reference to an “aggravating factor”, namely, sexual orientation and/or gender and/or colour and/or race contrary to FA Rule E3(2).
The player has until 6pm on Wednesday 31 August 2016 to respond to the charge.”
Gray could now face a fine and a possible suspension from the governing body despite pleading for forgiveness three days ago.
Last season’s Championship Player of the Year had written on Twitter: “I have a lot of regrets regarding a number of things I’ve done in the past and realise I have made some big mistakes, none more so than these tweets, but I would like to stress that I’ve worked incredibly hard to completely transform my life since that time.
To clarify, I do not hold the beliefs written in those tweets whatsoever. I can assure everybody that I am absolutely not homophobic and as said previously I can only apologise and ask for forgiveness to anyone I offended.”
Back in June Coventry’s Chris Stokes was handed a one-match suspension for homophobic remarks he posted on Twitter one month earlier while Michael Ball, Federico Macheda and Ravel Morrison were all fined for similar comments made in 2012, the year Gray’s posts were published online.
Gray’s current manager Sean Dyche has spoken with his player about the tweets and believes his apology is genuine.
The Wolverhampton-born striker was involved in gang trouble in the midlands growing up and has a scar on his cheek from the time he was slashed with a knife.
“We spoke on Saturday evening and he made it clear to me what he wanted to do and how he wanted to conduct his statement; it was authentic to him and very clear,” Dyche said at his press conference on Wednesday.
He has moved on a long way in his life. This was a reminder, four years ago, he’s a different person now. A lot has gone on his life to get to where he’s got to and I think he made that clear.”
“I think, I hope, people will realise it was authentic, because it was.”