Belfast Telegraph

Former Tyrone GAA star Tommy McGuigan who posted tweet urging followers to 'punch a Jew' facing police probe

By Greg Harkin

A GAA star is facing a police probe after posting a message on Twitter urging people to "punch a Jew".

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 is reported to have written: "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 a joke and meant as "nothing serious".

However, screenshots of the original tweet are still being posted on social media websites.

The controversial comment was originally posted on July 29 at the height of the Israeli offensive against Gaza.

It was picked up and denounced by Israeli media, with some outlets confusing Gaelic football with soccer.

Israel National News denounced the Ardboe clubman under the headline: "Soccer star urges fans to punch Jews."

The media group is supportive of the Israeli settlement movement.

McGuigan said he received threats afterwards.

"I apologise for any offence caused," the 29-year-old told the Tyrone Herald.

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's comment has earned him 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.

A spokesman for the PSNI said: "A complaint was received by police on Thursday August 14 and officers are currently carrying out a number of enquiries."

McGuigan's older brother is three-time All-Ireland-winning Tyrone star, Brian McGuigan, and his father Frank is considered one of the legends of Tyrone football.

In 2008 Tommy and Brian picked up All Ireland winning medals and their older brother Frank also has an All Ireland medal from 2003.

McGuigan scored a vital goal at the start of the second half of the 2008 All-Ireland Final.

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