Barton’s Twitter rant sparks fury

Updated: November 29, 2011

Premiership footballer Joey Barton is in hot water over comments he made on Twitter, calling Gary Speed’s suicide ‘selfish’ which has provoked criticism from suicide prevention groups and football fans.

The Queens Park Rangers captain refused to apologise for his insensitive comments despite an outcry from others on the social networking site.

On Twitter, Barton wrote: “Just hearing about Gary Speed, to say am shocked is an understatement. My thoughts are with his family.”

But his sympathy quickly turned sour as he followed up with: “Suicide is a mix of the most tragic, most selfish, most terrible (and I want to believe preventable) acts out there.”

When other users objected to his views he responded: “Feedback on here, small minority as usual strongly disagree with what I said. If they read carefully or had half a brain, they’d understand.”

Counsellor Beth Neil, from the Welsh branch of Survivors of Bereavement By Suicide, added: “He has no idea what kind of trauma Gary was going through. This is just sick.

Barton is no stranger to controversy with a career marred by indiscipline. He spent 77 days in prison, in 2008, for an assault outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Liverpool.

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