Scottish football referee resigns over anti-gay Facebook posts
A top-level Scottish football referee has resigned after his history of posting anti-gay and sectarian messages on social media was exposed.
Scottish FA referee Stephen Brown decided to quit over the Facebook messages, which date from 2010, and target the Glasgow-based Celtic Football Club and the team’s manager Neil Lennon with abuse.
Football referee posted anti-gay abuse
Brown faced an independent disciplinary hearing over the messages in 2014, when he was a referee for a lower football tier, but was let off at the time with a censure and a slap on the wrist.
However, the referee is now qualified to oversee the top tier of the sport, meaning he could have been called upon to officiate at Celtic games.
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Brown confirmed in a statement on Saturday (June 15) that he has decided to resign, after the comments surfaced in the media.
Referee ‘regrets’ past comments
In a statement to the Scottish Daily Mail, Brown said: “[I take] full responsibility for the posts, made during a period of great personal difficulty.
“I expressed deep regret and remorse at the time and the person I am now is unrecognisable to the person I was then.
“I am devastated that my actions from the past will prevent me from fulfilling my potential as a match official.”
— Stephen Brown
“I am embarrassed by what I wrote but there were personal issues I was dealing with that, while they don’t mitigate that behaviour, explain it.”
He added: “Refereeing has given me a second chance in life and I am grateful for that opportunity.
“I am devastated that my actions from the past will prevent me from fulfilling my potential as a match official but appreciate that perceptions linger, regardless of how much sorrow or regret I express.”