Derry City boss blasts 'low-life idiots' after racial abuse directed at Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe

RUAIDHRI Higgins described those responsible for the ‘horrendous’ online racist abuse directed at Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe as ‘low-life idiots’ and believes the Derry City striker will use the incident as ammunition to continue his impressive form for the club.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 7:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 7:36 pm
Derry City striker Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe was subjected to vile online abuse on Monday night following the 3-3 draw against Bohemians.

The ex-Colchester United player who was on the scoresheet for Derry at Bohemians on Monday night, came off the pitch to discover racist messages sent to him on his personal Instagram account from an anonymous user.

The sick messages were roundly condemned by his teammates and the club who rallied around in support of the Englishman while the FAI’s Intercultural Programme National Co-ordinator, Des Tomlinson has promised to challenge online discrimination robustly.

“The Football Association of Ireland and the League of Ireland condemn all forms of discrimination and abuse,” said Mr Tomlinson. “As an Association, we will continue to robustly and diligently challenge discrimination, including online hate speech, in the strongest possible way.”

Derry City boss Higgins felt it was important to highlight the incident but he doesn’t believe it will impact the performances of Junior who has been in fine form for the Candy Stripes since returning on loan from Dundalk.

“It’s horrendous in this day and age that we’re having these conversations,” said Higgins. “I’ve spoken to Junior a few times since and he’s a brilliant character, a really strong character. He told me it’s the first time since he’s been in Ireland that he’s had this sort of thrown at him but he’s fine.

“It’s obviously never nice but he’s a strong character and just wants to get back on the pitch again. He’s done great for us from a football point of view. He’s highly thought of by everyone at the club, both on and off the pitch. Everyone at the club supports him wholeheartedly and he’ll be fine. I’ve no worries about him. He’ll play again tomorrow night and hopefully he can get himself another goal and continue his good form.

“Nobody in 2021 should be subjected to anything like. It’s horrendous,” he continued. “It’s important to highlight it but at the same time you don’t want to give these idiots credence because that’s what they are, low-life idiots.

Junior in action against Bohemians Keith Ward in Dalymount Park on Monday night. Photograph by Kevin Moore.

“The wheel might come around some day and they might be on the wrong end of something similar and they’ll see what it’s like for themselves.

“I don’t think Junior will lose much sleep about it to be honest. And I’m sure he will be very determined to use it as ammunition to continue his good form.”

Derry City Football Club also released a statement on Wednesday evening condemning the online abuse and dismissed suggestions it had emanated from a Bohemians supporter.

“Derry City Football Club unreservedly condemns the online abuse directed at our player, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe this week,” read the statement. “This type of behaviour has no place in our sport and supporters, staff, management and players stand wholeheartedly with Junior.

“We would also like to completely dismiss any suggestion that these comments had anything to do with supporters of Bohemians FC. Our two clubs have a fantastic relationship and this abuse will not be allowed to taint what was a superb game of football.”

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