A 14-year-old boy who posted a vile racist tirade against Stan Collymore on Twitter has apologised for his role, saying “I am deeply, deeply, deeply sorry”.
In an exclusive interview at his Donaghmore home, the football-mad teenager - who plays in a team which includes players of various races - said he just didn’t think before posting the comment on Twitter which the former footballer has since reported to police.
His distraught mother also revealed that she apologised to Stan Collymore in a Twitter post.
“I feel absolutely terrible for it, it’s probably the worst thing,” the third year pupil said, just hours after Twitter suspended his account.
“I literally can’t believe I’ve done it, I do not know what I was thinking.
“It’s the worst I have ever felt in my whole life.”
He went on to say that if he could apologise to Mr Collymore he would tell him; “I’m deeply sorry, and I didn’t mean anything by it - it was just one moment of stupidity,” and that if he could take the comment back, he would.
“I didn’t think. I don’t know – it’s absolute stupidity. I just wasn’t thinking when I typed it out,” he added.
His stunned mother said her son was a “good boy, who never puts a foot wrong”.
“I never have any trouble with him, whatsoever,” she said.
“Everybody would say he was a mannerly child, it’s just totally out of character for him.
“He is gutted, he’s been crying since he came home from school, he only turned 14 there in November.”
She added: “I can’t blame Stan Collymore, I heard about this away back - about the abuse he’s getting.
“I’ve spoke to my son about these things before, but it’s getting carried away with everybody else - it’s just stupidity.
“I’m disgusted with the fact that he wrote that remark. That one second, or that one remark.
“He’s not a stupid boy... he just did something so stupid.
“It’s one lesson in life he has learnt very, very hard - is that there’s consequences for your actions.
“I’ve told him ‘what you write on the internet, it will stay with you for the rest of your life’, someone can see it or take a snap-chat of it.
“It’s the ruination of the young ones today. Facebook... everything should be over 18.
“I’m devastated that he did it, and I’m devastated for him for the consequences of it, what it’s going to do to him.
“There’s a line you don’t cross, but he’s 14 and he just didn’t think.
“You could never meet a less racist person in your life,” she added.
The teenager admitted he is worried that his tweet could affect his football as he plays alongside children from many different ethnic backgrounds and gets on well with them.
“I wouldn’t consider myself racist,” he said.
And his mother added: “I think they’d be shocked, his coach and everyone will be shocked, they have never had any bother with him he just lives and breathes football.”
And it would seem that football-centred banter is what got him into the situation that he now faces.
“It all started because during the Liverpool and Aston Villa game on Saturday night, Liverpool were awarded a penalty and apparently Luis Suarez dived for it.
“Stan had written out on Twitter that he thinks Suarez dived and people have just back-lashed off that and went mad at him.
“It was a bit of a joke, that’s all it was at the start.”
His mum said: “He wouldn’t have much understanding of the difference of it, he wouldn’t know the boundaries.
“There’s no boundaries on the football banter pages,” she added, “whereas on Twitter it’s a completely different thing.”
Dungannon police confirmed they have been made aware of “abusive comments” on Twitter, and that enquiries are continuing.