DAILY MAIL 🔵 Chelsea’s first black player Canoville apologises for Gallagher post – Shango Media
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DAILY MAIL 🔵 Chelsea’s first black player Canoville apologises for Gallagher post

Chelsea’s first black player Paul Canoville has apologised to Conor Gallagher for helping spark a social media pile-on after the England star appeared to ignore a black mascot.

Gallagher’s Instagram account was flooded with comments calling him a racist after a short clip showing the Chelsea captain accidentally blanking the youngster in the Stamford Bridge tunnel went viral.

Chelsea condemned the ‘completely unacceptable’ abuse of Gallagher in a statement on Wednesday, saying the clip ‘had been taken considerably out of context.’

Canoville played for Chelsea between 1981 and 1986, defying racist abuse from elements of the team’s own support. He has worked as an ambassador for the Chelsea FC Foundation. 

Canoville, 62, shared the Gallagher video in a now deleted post on X, which sparked accusations he was ‘stirring up abuse’ against the England midfielder.

Chelsea and England star Conor Gallagher was accused of being 'racist' after he accidentally ignored a handshake from a black mascot ahead of Saturday's match with Burnley

Paul Canoville, who was Chelsea's first black player in the 1980s, has apologised for circulating the Gallagher mascot video, helping spark the social media pile-on

Canoville admitted he was 'too quick to post' his now-deleted social media message

He apologised on Wednesday, writing: ‘Sorry to Conor and all blue bhoys [sic] n girls. I went too quickly to post this marn’. As you know I’m very passionate about equality for all. Much love.’

As Gallagher prepared to lead the team out for Saturday’s home Premier League fixture against Burnley, the young mascot raised his hand hoping for a handshake.

But Gallagher appeared to ignore him and instead put his arm around another – white – mascot standing alongside him in the tunnel.

Even though a later picture showed Gallagher with his arms around both mascots a few seconds after the original clip, his social media has been flooded with accusations he is ‘racist’. 

On one recent Instagram post showing Gallagher playing for England last week, comments included ‘the king of racism’, ‘no to racism’ and ‘black lives matter.’

On Wednesday, the London club released an angry statement in response to the abuse of Gallagher, writing: ‘Chelsea Football Club is aware of a video clip circulating on social media from Saturday’s fixture against Burnley, which has been taken considerably out of context.

‘The subsequent level of abuse and defamatory comments directed towards Conor Gallagher is completely unacceptable.

‘We are proud to be a diverse, inclusive club where people from all cultures, communities and identities feel welcome.’ 

Chelsea condemned the 'completely unacceptable' abuse of Gallagher in a strong statement

Gallagher captained Chelsea during Saturday's 2-2 Premier League game at Stamford Bridge

Mauricio Pochettino also sprung to the defence of Gallagher when speaking on Wednesday

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino also defended Gallagher when speaking ahead of Thursday’s match with Manchester United: ‘That has upset me so much. Because no one wants to do something like this, with this intention.

‘When you play football and you are there and focusing to play and start the game, that sometimes can happen. People try to find things to create a mess and to abuse. 

‘Conor is a great, great kid and is always caring about everything. I hate that people feel free to abuse on social media.

‘To abuse the people is so easy. So easy. Who thinks the intention of Conor is to ignore a mascot? No one. Come on.’

Canoville, who played 103 times for Chelsea and helped them win promotion into the First Division in 1984, faced his own backlash when he shared the video.

One user on X wrote: ‘Isn’t Canners meant to be a club ambassador? Why wouldn’t he address this internally if he had concerns? Rather than posting a video to stir up hatred against Conor who clearly didn’t intend to not high five the kid.’

Canoville endured horrendous racist abuse himself - even from Chelsea fans - during his time playing for the club in the 1980s

The winger played 103 times for Chelsea between 1981 and 1986, helping them win promotion into the First Division in 1984

Another said: ‘Are you trying to imply something with your message here Paul? Because I’ve seen further clips that show Conor with his arm around the boy. Surely you’ve not just aired Conor for not shaking a hand?’

Another reply to Canoville’s original post said: ‘Nothing is going on!!!! Sterling did the same thing btw! Such a poor take and in turn stirring up abuse for a player that continues to get attacked! So disappointing this!’

Premier LeagueConor Gallagher

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