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The Sun apologises for Ross Barkley column, says 'there was never any slur intended'

The column by Kelvin MacKenzie compared Barkley to a gorilla.

BRITISH NEWSPAPER THE Sun has apologised to English footballer Ross Barkley over a column it published about him last week.

Columnist Kelvin MacKenzie was suspended over the piece in which he described Barkley as “thick” and compared him to a gorilla.

Barkley, whose grandfather is from Nigeria, was punched in a Liverpool bar a number of weeks ago.

Footage of Barkley being punched was distributed widely but MacKenzie used it as an opportunity to write the critical column about Barkley.

Today, The Sun has published an apology to the 23-year-old Everton midfielder.

The apology read:

On 14 April we published a piece in the Kelvin MacKenzie column about footballer Ross Barkley which made unfavourable comparisons between Mr Barkley and a gorilla.At the time of publication the paper was unaware of Ross Barkley’s heritage and there was never any slur intended. As soon as his background was drawn to our attention, the article was removed from online.We have been contacted by lawyers on behalf of Ross Barkley, who has made a formal complaint about the piece.

The Sun has apologised for the offence caused by the piece.

We would like to take this opportunity to apologise personally to Ross Barkley.

Kelvin MacKenzie suspended Kelvin MacKenzie was suspended by the paper. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

MacKenzie’s column was published on the eve of the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans died in 1989.

MacKenzie was editor of The Sun at the time of the disaster and the newspaper’s coverage of the aftermath led to a long-standing boycott of the paper in the Merseyside area.

Barkley was born in Liverpool.

- Comments have been closed as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

Read: Sun suspends Kelvin MacKenzie over ‘unfunny’ Ross Barkley column >

Read: Everton bans The Sun from its stadium following controversial Kelvin MacKenzie column >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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