Police in Ireland confirmed on Tuesday they are investigating a comment left on Twitter by soccer player Tommy McGuigan calling for his followers to punch Jews, reports the Ulster Herald.
The All-Ireland winner, who has since deleted the comment, tweeted, “If you are lucky enough to know or work with a Jew, punch him right on the nose tomorrow.”
He has since apologized for the remark, claiming it was written as a joke and was meant as “nothing serious”.
The comment, posted on July 29, has sparked a backlash of tweets directed at McGuigan, accusing him of anti-Semitism and threatening the GAA player with violence, according to the Ulster Herald.
A police spokesperson told the website that a formal complaint had been made.
“A complaint was received by police on Thursday August 14 and officers are currently carrying out a number of enquiries,” said the spokesman.
Speaking on Friday, the former Tyrone player said he was shocked at how far the comments had travelled.
“I apologize for any offence caused,” he said, admitting that he had posted the comment after watching coverage of events in Gaza, but did not intend for it to be taken seriously.
“It was meant as a joke. You’re sitting watching the news and you thinking this is not right,” said McGuigan.
“I am not in the public eye and it was just a joke to the people I hang around with It has just spiralled, you have people messaging you calling you all kinds of names,” he added.
McGuigan further said he accepted that he had caused offence and would take more care with what he posted online in future. He added that at the time, he didn’t appreciate the public nature of Twitter comments.
Sports have become a hotbed of European anti-Semitism over the past several weeks, as skewed media reports on Israel's self-defense operation in Gaza have trickled down through various social spheres and venues.
In July, Skinheads attacked an Israeli soccer team in Poland; two days earlier, Palestinian Arabs attacked the Maccabi Haifa team during a friendly match in Lille, France.
English Cricketer Moen Ali recently became the subject of an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his decision to wear "Free Gaza" bracelets at a cricket match, in violation of regulations.