| 21.8°C Dublin

Joint decision Basketball Ireland CEO Bernard O'Byrne steps down following 'unacceptable' social media post

Basketball Ireland said it arrived at a “joint decision” for Mr O’Byrne to step down with immediate effect

Close

Bernard O'Byrne has stepped down as Basketball Ireland CEO. Image credit: Sportsfile.

Bernard O'Byrne has stepped down as Basketball Ireland CEO. Image credit: Sportsfile.

Bernard O'Byrne has stepped down as Basketball Ireland CEO. Image credit: Sportsfile.

The CEO of Basketball Ireland Bernard O’Byrne is stepping down from his role in light of a controversial post last week which the organisation has labelled “unacceptable and cast him in an unfavourable light.”

The board of the governing body for basketball in Ireland was forced to issue an apology after Mr O’Byrne wrote “Black Dives Matter” in a comment accompanying a BBC article on Facebook following England’s Euro 2020 victory over Denmark. His comment was in reference to a controversial penalty awarded to the black player Raheem Sterling which led to England’s victory over Denmark in the Euro semi-finals.

Close

The controversial post

The controversial post

The controversial post

 

Mr O’Byrne, who has been at the helm of Basketball Ireland since 2011 and was the former chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) later removed the post and apologised in a statement on Basketball Ireland’s website.

But in a statement issued this evening, Basketball Ireland said it arrived at a “joint decision” for Mr O’Byrne to step down with immediate effect “to help the organisation move forward following a recent social media post by Mr. O’Byrne from a personal account.”

Basketball Ireland chairman Paul McDevitt, said: “I am very disappointed that Bernard is retiring under these circumstances. We know that the basketball community and beyond has felt particularly let down over the last few days and we will continue to listen to and address any concerns that are raised. Basketball Ireland takes a zero tolerance stance on any form of discrimination, and diversity and inclusion are key pillars in our sport.”

“Bernard’s comment on social media was unacceptable. It has subsequently cast him in an unfavourable light, which is very unfortunate as over the last decade he has been a driving force within the basketball community in Ireland in addressing bullying and negative attitudes regarding gender, sexuality and race. His brief lapse in judgement does not reflect the person I know, nor Basketball Ireland as an organisation.”

Mr. O’Byrne meanwhile, said: “While I am hugely disappointed that this is how my decade with Basketball Ireland has ended, I understand that stepping down is in the best interests of the sport. I am deeply apologetic over the hurt caused by my remark and I am fully cognisant of the struggles with discrimination that many people are having to deal with in day-to-day life.”

"My comment was an off-the-cuff, extremely ill-judged attempt at humour based on wordplay only, that was never intended to be racially insensitive or make light of organisations which have done so much to help raise awareness of inclusion and discrimination.”

“I wish the Basketball Ireland community the very best for the future and hope they continue the impressive work and achievements that I have had the honour to assist with during the last 10 years,” he added.

The comment preceded widespread condemnation and a police investigation this week into online racist abuse against some members of the English squad after they lost the Euro final to Italy in a penalty shootout on Sunday night.

Despite Mr O’Byrne’s previous apology in which he said : “My choice of words commenting on a penalty incident were not thought out. It was an error of judgment and I wholeheartedly apologise for the comments,” some board members said the apology didn’t go far enough.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Board member Hillary Nets stood down from Basketball Ireland’s diversity and inclusion committee following the controversy.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Related Content






Privacy