Friday 23 June 2017

Twitter rant on Speed suicide calling him ‘selfish’ sparks fury

Gary Speed pictured with a fan shortly after recording Football Focus
An inquest into the death of Wales football manager Gary Speed will be opened today. Photo: PA
On Twitter Joey Barton said 'Suicide is a mix of the most tragic, most selfish, most terrible (and I want to believe preventable) acts out there.' Photo: Getty Images

Independent.ie reporters

PREMIERSHIP footballer Joey Barton has provoked much criticism by calling the weekend suicide of Welsh manager Gary Speed ‘selfish’.

The Queens Park Rangers captain refused to apologise for his insensitive comments despite an outcry from others on the social networking site.

Garry Speed’s wife Louise found his body hanged in the garage of their luxury home on Sunday.

On Twitter, Barton wrote: “Just hearing about Gary Speed, to say am shocked is an understatement. My thoughts are with his family.”

But he soon followed up with: “Suicide is a mix of the most tragic, most selfish, most terrible (and I want to believe preventable) acts out there.”

When other users objected to his views he responded: “Feedback on here, small minority as usual strongly disagree with what I said. If they read carefully or had half a brain, they'd understand.”

Football fans and suicide prevention groups criticised Barton’s comments, according to the Daily Mail.

Malcolm Clarke - chairman of the Football Supporters' Federation told the Daily Star: “This is completely insensitive and inappropriate. It is disrespectful to Gary's family. We should be concentrating on the positive impact he made on the game at a time like this.”

Counsellor Beth Neil, from the Welsh branch of Survivors of Bereavement By Suicide, added: “He has no idea what kind of trauma Gary was going through. This is just sick.”

Joey Barton is no stranger to controversy with a career marked by disciplinary problems.

He was sentenced to six months' imprisonment in 2008 for assault during an incident outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Liverpool and served 77 days in jail.

He was also given a four months suspended sentence after admitting assault occasioning actual bodily harm on former teammate Ousmane Dabo during a training ground dispute in an incident that ended his Manchester City career.

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