Belfast Telegraph

Forgive me for a moment of stupidity: Northern Ireland star Gavin Whyte in plea to Green and White Army

Northern Ireland's Gavin Whyte
Northern Ireland's Gavin Whyte
Gavin Whyte
Michael O'Neill
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

Northern Ireland international Gavin Whyte has made a heartfelt plea to supporters to forgive him after he was filmed performing a lewd act in Belfast city centre over the weekend.

The footballer was filmed singing while semi-naked as he walked through part of the city with another person. Whyte admitted it happened during a drunken night out after video of the incident was widely shared on social media.

"I want to thank everyone for the nice messages and hopefully they can see it for what it is, a drunk night out where I did something childish and wrong," he said in an appeal to supporters in a statement on Wednesday.

"It happened and now I have to try and move on. I have so many good people around me and all I can do is concentrate on my football and hope that the Oxford and Northern Ireland fans can forgive me for a moment of real stupidity."

Whyte again apologised for the incident in the statement posted on his Twitter account.

"By now people have seen the video and have made up their minds about it. I apologise to anyone I offended.

"All I can say is that I was stupid, it shouldn't ever have happened and I completely regret being part of it."

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill said Whyte's behaviour was "clearly unacceptable" and "far below the standards" expected of an international player.

"I know that Oxford United will discipline him appropriately for this significant mistake and both his club and the Irish FA will put in place measures to make sure that he learns from it," he said.

Oxford described the behaviour as "clearly unacceptable from a professional footballer", vowing to work with the striker and the Irish FA to ensure he was "aware of his responsibilities".

His manager Karl Robinson said it was "totally out of character" from the former Crusaders player.

"I have rarely heard anyone so remorseful for something that he regrets and knows he shouldn't have done," he said.

"Clearly he had drunk too much, and we will deal with that too, but whether you are a footballer or not that sort of behaviour is wrong on every level."

He added: "He is a great kid and I hope the fans can forgive him for one moment of madness."

In the statement from the club on Tuesday Whyte apologised, stating he was "embarrassed beyond words".

Police said they were aware of the video and conducting enquiries.

League One side Oxford take on Portsmouth at home on Saturday. Whyte, the club confirmed, will be available for the fixture.

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