Early Doors

Steven Taylor apologises after bizarre Tweet causes offence

Early Doors

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Newcastle defender Steven Taylor has some explaining to do after releasing a bizarre Tweet mocking some of his team-mates.

The initial posting came from Massadio Haidara, who teased Taylor about his attempts to learn French:

The Toon icon retorted with the message: "it’s always good to see you guys smiling", copying in Moussa Sissoko, Papiss Cisse and Vurnon Anita for good measure.

All very inoffensive, you would say – until you click on the picture link, which shows a photo-shopped composite featuring a moustachioed youngster in a Netherlands shirt, a man in traditional African clothing, another wearing a fake afro wig and – most disconcertingly – a suited gentleman covered in what appears to be Black and White Minstrels’ style facepaint:

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Initial shock at what could have been construed as a racially-tinged retort is tempered by a closer look at the images – the bumfluff-sporting teen in the Dutch shirt is a young Anita, while the other images resemble the remaining three team-mates.

Maybe they are embarrassing snaps from the past that Taylor is using to wind his pals up after the initial tweet, which featured an image of the centre-half reclining in the dressing room.

Or maybe it was an ill-advised attempt at ‘banter’ – or ‘bander’ as Haidara typo-ed in his subsequent tweet.

Or perhaps it was a mixture of the two. Some fans were clearly upset, most their comments a touch too blue to reprint here.

Perhaps we just shouldn't attempt to deconstruct dialogue between footballers, for they know not what they do.

Either way, Taylor later apologised, perhaps realising that - while obviously good-natured - his photo gaffe may have offended people.

"Apologies if my tweet offended anybody", was the simple statement.

UPDATE: Later on Friday, Newcastle tweeted a picture of Taylor playing with an ethnically-diverse group of youngsters as part of a community project.

While the club have every right to highlight the defender's voluntary work, the timing seemed rather transparent and smacked of a 'some of my best friends are black teenagers' defence.

Newcastle might have been better advised to keep schtum and let this one blow over.

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