Ex-Arsenal winger Perry Groves has been forced to apologise after saying Brighton keeper Mat Ryan “had a holocaust game” in the club’s 1-0 loss to Sheffield United in the Premier League on Saturday.
The now 54-year-old, who made over 150 appearance for the Gunners between 1986 and 1992, made the comments speaking post-match on talkSPORT’s ‘The Warm Up’ radio program.
Listeners were quick to voice their issue with the controversial comparison with one calling up with a deeply personal reason to take offense.
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“I lost half of my family to the Holocaust and it really upset and angered me hearing him use those comments to describe a football game of all things,” said Joseph Reiselson, 72.
“I phoned up to complain immediately and the man at talkSPORT who spoke to me said that I wasn’t the only one to call up about his comments.”
In the aftermath of his comments, Groves swiftly said sorry and stressed he didn’t mean to cause offense.
“I’d just like to sincerely apologise for my misuse of words earlier,” Groves said. “I didn’t mean to offend anybody and if I have offended anybody I’m truly, genuinely sorry and that is from my heart.”
Ryan did endure a difficult match in goal for Brighton on Saturday as Sheffield proved too strong. The Australian shot-stopper was actually beaten twice in the match, only for John Egan’s opening goal to be ruled out after a VAR review picked up a handball.
Oliver McBurnie would ultimately score the winner for the Blades as Ryan was beaten at his near post in the 23rd minute.
The result sees Brighton sitting 13th in the Premier League, while Sheffield’s strong season currently has them fifth heading into Christmas.
Groves holocaust comment compounded a poor weekend for the Premier League with Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Tottenham overshadowed by alleged racism aimed towards Blues defender Antonio Rudiger.
The German took to social media after the match to urge for strong action to be taken against the offenders.
“It is really sad to see racism again at a football match, but I think it’s very important to talk about it in public. If not, it will be forgotten again in a couple of days (as always),” Rudiger tweeted in a thread.
“I don’t want to involve Tottenham as an entire club into this situation as I know that just a couple of idiots were the offenders. I got a lot of supportive messages on social media from Spurs fans as well in the last hours – thank you a lot for this.
“I really hope that the offenders will be found and punished soon, and in such a modern football ground like the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with dozens of TV and security cameras, it must be possible to find and subsequently punish them.
“If not, then there must have been witnesses in the stadium who saw and heard the incident. It’s just such a shame that racism still exists in 2019. When will this nonsense stop?”
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