Defender Apologises For Racial Abuse19 December 2002

Reading defender John Mackie has publicly apologised for racially abusing Sheffield United striker Carl Asaba after Saturday’s clash at The Madejski Stadium. Mackie has also voluntarily donated two weeks’ wages to the Kick Racism Out of Football campaign.

“I would like to apologise for the comment I made to Carl after the game which I now appreciate may have caused racial offence,” said Mackie.

“I made the comment whilst I was still pumped up and after a tussle with Carl. I deeply regret making that comment and know that I’ve let myself, my team-mates and Reading Football Club down. I’m not a racist. I have many friends from different ethnic backgrounds, both at Reading Football Club and elsewhere.”

“I wish I could turn back the clock, but I can’t and all I can do is unreservedly apologise to Carl Asaba and everyone else. I can assure you all that I’ll never again make such a comment.”

Sheffield United have confirmed that they were concerned enough to raise the incident with the Football Association, but would now prefer to close the issue since Mackie’s apology.

“We now think the matter should be laid to rest and everyone can get down to the real business of playing football. John Mackie is a smashing lad and knows he has made a big mistake. Fortunately, he has taken responsibility for his actions and Carl has accepted his apology.” said Neil Warnock, United manager.

May Not Be Enough for the FA

“We are aware of John Mackie’s apology, which is to be welcomed, but after receiving the letter from Sheffield United, we will look closely at what went on at Reading on Saturday. We would also stress how seriously we take any issues of racial abuse. There is no place for it in the game.” stated FA spokesman Adrian Bevington.