Strachan sorry for controversial Johnson remarks

Gordon Strachan has "sincerely apologised" for any "unintended distress caused" by his controversial Adam Johnson remarks.

The former Scotland manager has been accused of linking racist abuse with the situation facing the convicted sex offender when appearing on Sky Sports' 'The Debate' programme last month. He will no longer be used by Sky Sports.

Johnson has recently been released after serving three years in prison for engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old fan, and the ex-England winger has not ruled out a return to football.

Strachan said: "If he goes on to the pitch and people start calling him names, have we got to do the same as it is to the racist situation?

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England's Adam Johnson (right) and Wayne Rooney (left).
Adam Johnson, Manchester City
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (centre) talks to Manchester City's Adam Johnson after the sending off of Manchester City's Vincent Kompany (right) during the FA Cup, Third Round match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.
Manchester City's Adam Johnson shakes hands with coach David Platt
England's John Terry (2nd left) leads, THeo Walcott (3rd right), Adam Johnson (left), Danny Welbeck (right), Daniel Sturridge (2nd right) and Frank Lampard during training
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team mates Adam Johnson (left) and Yaya Toure
England's Adam Johnson (left) and Theo Walcott during the training session
Manchester City's Adam Johnson lifts the FA cup trophy
Manchester City's Adam Johnson celebrates scoring the opening goal
Manchester City's Adam Johnson (left) celebrates with team mate Gnegneri Toure Yaya after scoring his side's first goal of the game
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini (left) speaks with Adam Johnson
Manchester City's Adam Johnson (left) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring their third goal of the game
England's Adam Johnson (left) and Peter Crouch (right) after the final whistle.
(L-R) England's Peter Crouch, Adam Johnson, Ashley Cole and Ashley Young.
Manchester City's Adam Johnson (centre) celebrates his goal with teammates during the Barclays Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester.
England's Adam Johnson (centre) celebrates with his team mates after scoring his side's second goal of the game
Sunderland's Adam Johnson celebrates scoring during the Barclays Premier League match at The Stadium of Light, Sunderland.
Sunderland's Adam Johnson celebrates scoring their first goal of the game from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland.
Sunderland's Adam Johnson and Manchester United's Matteo Darmian (right) battle for the ball in the air during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Sunderland's Adam Johnson throws his shirt into the crowd after the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.
File photo dated 12/2/2016 of Adam Johnson, 28, arrives with partner Stacey Flounders. The ex-girlfriend of the former England footballer has told how she had an abortion after he was arrested for sexual activity with a 15-year-old fan.
Sunderland's Adam Johnson (centre) prepares to come on as a substitute watched by manager Sam Allardyce (second left) and first team coach Robbie Stockdale (right)
Sunderland's Ola Toivonen, Jermain Defoe and Adam Johnson
Sunderland's Head Coach, Dick Advocaat (facing) talks to Adam Johnson who came on as a second half substitute against West Ham United during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.
Footballer Adam Johnson (centre) leaves Bradford Crown Court after the jury went sent home for the day in his trial.
England footballer Adam Johnson and his partner Stacey Flounders arrive at Peterlee Magistrates' Court in County Durham where he faced three offences of sexual activity with a girl under 16 and one of grooming.
Sunderland's Adam Johnson with daughter enjoys a lap of honour around the pitch after the Barclays Premier League match at The Stadium of Light, Sunderland.
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"Is it all right to call him names now after doing his three years – have we got to allow that to happen?"

In a statement issued through Press Association Sport, Strachan said: "Given the response in the last 24 hours to a point made on The Debate programme on Sky Sports from over a week ago, and having reflected on it personally, it is important for me to address the issues that have arisen.

"In no way did I intend to confuse or conflate the very serious issue of racism targeted at footballers with the potential verbal abuse towards a player who has been convicted of a sexual offence.

"Having reviewed the particular segment in light of the reaction, I fully acknowledge that the imprecise use of language in my initial response has left open a perception that should easily have been avoided. For that I sincerely apologise.

"I should have communicated my point more clearly and without the need to refer to the earlier discussion, during which I was clear in my condemnation of the racist abuse which continues to blight football.

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Gordon Strachan
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Coventry City manager Gordon Strachan shows his feelings as City go down 2-1 to Aston Villa
Aberdeen celebrate their 2-1 victory over Real Madrid: (back row, l-r) Neale Cooper, Alex McLeish, John Hewitt, Peter Weir, ?, Mark McGhee, Eric Black, Jim Leighton, Gordon Strachan, Bryan Gunn, Andy Watson; (front row, l-r) Eric McMaster, Stuart Kennedy, Doug Rougvie, Willie Miller, Neil Simpson
Leeds United captain Gordon Strachan celebrates with the League championship trophy, flanked by team mates Tony Dorigo (l) and David Batty (r)
(L-R) Manchester United's Norman Whiteside celebrates with teammates John Gidman, Gordon Strachan and Mike Duxbury after scoring the winning goal in extra time
Coventry City's goal scorer Viorel Moldovan (left) is congratulated by manager Gordon Strachan (right) at the end of the game
Coventry City Manager Gordon Strachan with Gary MCallister in the boot room Gary McAllister
Celtic's new signing Roy Keane (R) and manager Gordon Strachan talk to media during a press conference at Celtic Park, Glasgow, Thursday December 15, 2005. Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane completed his move to Celtic after signing an 18-month deal. Keane ended his Manchester United career last month by 'mutual consent'. See PA story SOCCER Celtic. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA. **EDITORIAL USE ONLY**
File photo dated 19/3/2006 of Celtic's manager Gordon Strachan celebrates with the trophy after winning the CIS Insurance Cup Final against Dunfermline Athletic.
Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee (left) and manager Gordon Strachan share a joke during a training session at the Stadion Pasienky, Bratislava.
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"I am also cognisant of the fact that the question asked on a football debate show – whether Adam Johnson will be able to resume his professional football career because of the stigma attached to his crime – did not afford the opportunity to demonstrate the requisite empathy or support towards the survivor.

"Having reviewed the particular segment in light of the reaction, I fully acknowledge that the imprecise use of language in my initial response has left open a perception that should easily have been avoided. For that I sincerely apologise.

"I should have communicated my point more clearly and without the need to refer to the earlier discussion, during which I was clear in my condemnation of the racist abuse which continues to blight football.

"I am also cognisant of the fact that the question asked on a football debate show – whether Adam Johnson will be able to resume his professional football career because of the stigma attached to his crime – did not afford the opportunity to demonstrate the requisite empathy or support towards the survivor.

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