Notts County assistant head coach Maurice Ross was sacked on Monday after being accused of racially insulting one of his own players – during the boycott of social media over discrimination.
The former Rangers and Wolves full-back, who had only arrived five weeks ago, was involved in the bust-up during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Altrincham.
The player, Dutch winger Enzio Boldewijn, was on the pitch playing when Ross is alleged to have told shocked substitutes: “He reminds me of one of those African players who is older than he says he is.”
Boldewijn was made aware of the comments by his angry dressing room colleagues after the match. The 28-year-old went immediately to captain Michael Doyle to make his feelings clear.
On Monday morning senior players at the club, led by Doyle, took their concerns to Chief Executive Jason Turner who moved quickly to relieve Ross of his duties.
Ross is understood to have made aware of the squad’s anger over his conduct by Turner and did not come in for training on Monday.
He said in a statement: “During Saturday’s match at Altrincham, I made an ill-judged comment to a member of our playing staff which has led to my departure from the club.
“I deeply regret the comment, which is not a reflection of the type of person I am, and would like to place on record my apologies to the player in question for the upset I have caused.
“While it was said in the heat of the moment with no malice intended, it was nevertheless unacceptable and I’m devastated by the impact it’s caused.
“I would also like to apologise to the club’s board of directors, supporters and Ian Burchnall, all of whom I have enjoyed working with immensely.
“The club have handled today’s events impeccably and everyone at Meadow Lane has my full support for the rest of the season and beyond.
“I will be taking some time to reflect on my actions and learn from this experience before continuing my coaching journey.”
County had said earlier: “Assistant head coach Maurice Ross has this afternoon left the club with immediate effect. “We will be making no further comment.”
Boldewijn is understood to be happy with the club’s swift action to terminate Ross’s contract.
There is concern in some quarters, however, that the club refused to acknowledge the deep concern over the row until their statement on Monday.
The incident comes after County joined clubs across the country in boycotting Twitter and Instagram on Friday in protest at the racist abuse being suffered by black footballers.
County posted on their Twitter account yesterday ‘We will not stop until we see change’ – a reference to keeping pressure on social media companies until racist abuse on their platforms is stamped out.
Ross has been contacted for his comments.
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