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Saturday 20 September 2014

'Punch a Jew' GAA star in criminal investigation

Greg Harkin

Published 20/08/2014 | 02:30

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Tyrone v Derry - Allianz GAA NFL Division 1 Round 6...28 March 2009; Tommy McGuigan, Tyrone, celebrates victory at the final whistle. Allianz GAA NFL Division 1 Round 6, Healy Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE...ANI
Tommy McGuigan in action for Tyrone in 2009. Photo: Sportsfile

A GAA star is facing a criminal investigation after sending a Tweet urging people to "punch a Jew".

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Former Tyrone player Tommy McGuigan has apologised for the Tweet, but the PSNI has confirmed it is investigating the comment as a potential hate crime.

The All-Ireland winner had tweeted: "If you are lucky enough to know or work with a Jew, punch him right on the nose tomorrow."

He has since deleted the Tweet, claiming it was written as a joke and was meant as "nothing serious". The comment was originally posted on July 29 at the height of the Israeli offensive on Gaza.

It was picked up and denounced by Israeli media, with some outlets confusing Gaelic football with soccer. One denounced the Ardboe clubman under the headline: 'Soccer star urges fans to punch Jews'.

Threats

McGuigan said he received threats afterwards.

"I apologise for any offence caused," said the 29-year-old. He said he had been watching news coverage of the death and destruction in Gaza when he sent the Tweet.

"It was meant as a joke. You're sitting watching the news and you're thinking this is not right. I am not in the public eye and it was just a joke to the people I hang around with."

However, the footballer said he accepted that he had caused offence and would take more care in future. McGuigan has faced the wrath of the Jewish media. He said one London-based Jewish columnist requested to speak with him in order to confront him over his comment. "I said it was meant as a joke, nothing serious. He agreed to let it go," he said.

However, the PSNI is now investigating the Tweet.

Irish Independent

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