Northern Ireland footballer Gavin Whyte apologises for ‘moment of stupidity’

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Northern Ireland international footballer Gavin Whyte has apologised to anyone he offended after a video of him walking through Belfast city centre semi-naked and engaged in a lewd act was posted online.

The video emerged on social media on Monday night – the same evening the 22-year-old Belfast man was being honoured for his exploits on the pitch at a sports awards ceremony in the city.

Northern Ireland's Gavin Whyte pictured after a recent international match against Bosnia. Pic by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Northern Ireland's Gavin Whyte pictured after a recent international match against Bosnia. Pic by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

In the video, Whyte, who plays for Oxford United, is seen with another man walking down a pavement beside Belfast City Hall, both with their trousers and pants down around their knees, exposing themselves.

The League One club has confirmed that Whyte will be disciplined for his “unacceptable” behaviour. And the PSNI has said it is “conducting enquiries” into the matter.

Whyte, who was formerly with Irish League side Crusaders, issued a statement via the Oxford United website apologising for his actions, which he described as “a moment of stupidity”.

“It was a moment of stupidity from me, one I regret very much and which I have to try and learn from. I can only apologise to anyone I offended and to those I let down by my behaviour.

Gavin Whyte during a training session with the Northern Ireland team. Pic by William Cherry, Presseye

Gavin Whyte during a training session with the Northern Ireland team. Pic by William Cherry, Presseye

“I am embarrassed beyond words but all I can do is try to move on, concentrate on my football, and make sure that nothing like this ever happens again,” he said.

The PSNI have confirmed that they are “aware of a video on social media and are conducting enquiries into the matter.”

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill said Whyte’s behaviour was “clearly unacceptable” and “far below the standards” expected of a footballer who represents his country.

“Gavin’s actions in the video are clearly unacceptable and fall far below the standards that we expect from a Northern Ireland international,” he said.

“I know that Oxford United will discipline him appropriately for this significant mistake and both his club and the Irish FA will put in place measures to make sure that he learns from it.”

Oxford United also branded his conduct unacceptable, insisting it was “totally out of character” and a “moment of madness”.

The club’s manager, Karl Robinson, condemned the player’s actions.

“It is totally out of character,” he said.

“Gavin is a quiet, respectful young man who is totally devastated by this. I have rarely heard anyone so remorseful for something that he regrets and knows he shouldn’t have done.

“Clearly he had drunk too much, and we will deal with that too, but whether you are a footballer or not that sort of behaviour is wrong on every level.

“We will sit down with Gavin today and we will remind him in no uncertain terms of his responsibilities.

“We have psychological and behavioural support here to help him get through this. He is a great kid and I hope the fans can forgive him for one moment of madness.”