GORDON STRACHAN faces being axed from television screens following the outrage caused by his comments comparing Adam Johnson to racist abuse suffered by footballers.
Former Scotland manager Strachan, 62, sparked fury when he tried to suggest the taunts which could be aimed at convicted sex offender Johnson were similar to the shocking abuse aimed at black players.
Strachan was speaking on the Sky Sports show The Debate, which was discussing whether Johnson should be allowed to return to professional football after being released from jail having been convicted of sexual activity with a 15-year-old.
He 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?
“Is it all right to call him names now after doing his three years – have we got to allow that to happen?”
That led to a furious response from across the game, and Sky Sports will now meet with the ex-Coventry and Southampton boss before deciding whether they will dump him from their screens.
Kick It Out chief Troy Townsend said: “That’s the problem when you keep giving [air-time] to those whose sell-by date long gone.
“This is where education is needed. I despair.”
Ex-Premier League striker Leroy Lita could not hide his disgust, retweeting a video of Strachan’s remarks with the words: “He really compared racism with paedophilia. F*****g disgrace.”
A Sky Sports spokesperson said: “Of course Sky Sports does not support the comments and we’re sorry for the offence they have caused.”
Strachan’s insensitive comments come a time when racism in football is rearing its ugly head again, with FA head Greg Clarke admitting the game has not done enough to protect black players.
England defender Danny Rose admitted last week that he cannot wait to end his career and walk away from the game, because he feels so let down by the efforts to eradicate the problem from the sport.
And the weekend brought more shame with a Brentford fan arrested for racially abusing Derby star Duane Holmes during their Championship clash at Griffin Park.
Then Crystal Palace ace Wilfried Zaha and Wigan’s Nathan Byrne were subjected to racist abuse on social media and Northampton’s Timi Max Elsnik claimed several players were abused during a pre-match walk near their team hotel in Nottingham.
Strachan’s words have also been criticised by the Offside Trust, the charity supporting survivors of child sexual abuse in sport.
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The said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the deeply insensitive, hurtful and inappropriate comments made by Gordon Strachan in recent days.
“The last two years have seen survivors courageously highlighting what happens when football doesn’t take child abuse seriously.
“Simultaneously, BAME players continue to face horrific racism on the pitch and beyond. Strachan’s comments belittle both these important struggles.”