By Chris Wright
Newcastle striker Nile Ranger has publicly apologised after a photograph of him posing with a replica gun taken by his girlfriend appeared in several national newspapers today.
A spokeswoman for Toon has said this afternoon:
“The club have spoken to Nile and can confirm that the item shown in the photograph is a replica firearm which it is not an offense to own.
“Nile regrets posing for the photograph, which was taken by his girlfriend at home.
“The club will be speaking with the player this week about the importance of being a positive role model to young fans.”
Whether it’s an offense or not, you don’t need me to tell you the levels of stupidity on display here – though it’s perhaps to be expected from a man who consciously agreed to have a smiley face tattooed on the inside of his lower lip.
Indeed, Ranger himself should have a pretty decent idea of how this kind of absent-minded posturing can have a knock-on effect, having spent time in a young offender’s institute for his part in a gang-related armed robbery at the age of 15 – an 11-week sentence that almost did for his burgeoning football career when his club at the time, Southampton, severed all ties with the youngster almost as soon as the verdict came in.
It’ll be interesting to see if any disciplinary action will follow, especially considering that, not so very long ago, a certain Chelsea full-back escaped scot-free, despite him actually taking his artillery into work and shooting some poor chap in the gut with it.