‘Get that gun off his leg’: Piers Morgan attacks Raheem Sterling’s M16 tattoo
Sterling, who is set to star for England at the World Cup, showed off his fresh ink in an Instagram photo of himself in training with his team at St George's Park.
So just to clarify Saint Daniel, you think it’s perfectly OK for a top sportsman to tattoo a large assault rifle onto his leg, at a time when these very same rifles are being relentlessly used to massacre children in schools? https://t.co/D9fxYBLOpq— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 29, 2018
The Manchester City forward has been slammed by anti-gun campaigners, including controversial broadcaster Piers Morgan, after he shared the photo of himself on social media with the tattoo of an M16 assault rifle on his calf. Morgan then attacked those defending Sterling, including Match of the Day host Gary Lineker and former English cricketer Kevin Pietersen.
Unique to this country to attempt to destroy our players morale before a major tournament. It’s weird, unpatriotic and sad. https://t.co/vCfVTm9w0r— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 28, 2018
So you think it’s perfectly OK for an England football star to tattoo a large assault rifle onto his leg just before a World Cup, where it will be seen by billions of people? I find THAT pretty weird & sad, regardless of his explanation. https://t.co/iDH7vIyHaw— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 29, 2018
And there’s a very good reason why England ALWAYS fail at the football WC! Media bashing absolutely horrendous. Just imagine if the media backed all the players over the next 6wks EVERYDAY..!— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) May 29, 2018
Oh pur-lease. We fail at World Cups because we don’t play well enough. If you can’t stand a bit of media scrutiny, go and be a dustman. https://t.co/jI8NHkHDnK— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 29, 2018
Anti-gun advocates described the tattoo as “totally unacceptable” and “sickening,” and called for the 23-year old to be boycotted until he has the tattoo removed.
In response to the backlash, Sterling has opened up about his new ink to explain the meaning behind the controversial tattoo, revealing that the image is just a symbol of a vow he made to "never touch a gun" after his father was killed. His father was reportedly killed in Kingston, Jamaica when Sterling was a child.
Founder of Mothers Against Guns Lucy Cope, who formed the group after her son was shot dead in 2012, has called for Sterling to be pulled from the English team unless he removes the tattoo.
Speaking in The Sun’s hit piece, she said: "This tattoo is disgusting. Raheem should hang his head in shame. It's totally unacceptable.
"We demand he has the tattoo lasered off or covered up with a different tattoo. If he refuses, he should be dropped from the England team. He's supposed to be a role model but chooses to glamorize guns."
However, Sterling – one of England’s best players – has received widespread support from fellow players, football pundits and political figures. Former England striker Lineker leapt to Sterling’s defense, questioning the motivation behind the continued attacks on the Man City player from sections of the UK press.
He’s a terrific footballer with a brilliant work ethic. This persecution is disgusting. https://t.co/bx3JArBt1L— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 28, 2018
We should be proud of Raheem Sterling, a hugely gifted footballer preparing to represent England in the World Cup. Yet as ever, when the press in this country is confronted with any form of talent its first instinct isn’t pride but working out how it can cut them down 🚮— Matt Zarb-Cousin (@mattzarb) May 28, 2018
Summary of things Raheem Sterling can’t do according to the English press:- Stay in nightclubs until 3am- Put a nice sink in a house- Fly with EasyJet- Drive a dirty car- Propose to his girlfriend- Eat breakfast- Shop in Poundworld- Eat something from Greggs— 🐝 (@Beardamendi) May 28, 2018
When will The S*n stop?! Disgusting and embarrassing the media's agenda against Raheem Sterling... pic.twitter.com/nBWzRsE8nD— Transfer Posts (@TransferPosts) May 28, 2018
Before a ball has even been kicked in the World Cup, the England team is already having to deal with the infamous scrutiny of the British press.
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