The Telegraph have been forced to issue an apology to Sunderland forward Adam Johnson, who scored the penalty just before half-time on Sunday and the incident that also saw Coloccini sent off helped to turn the game in Sunderland’s favour.
They then beat 10 man Newcastle 3-0 for their 6th win in a row against their rivals.
The Telegraph had suggested that Adam’s celebration after the goal – he had his arms outstretched like a plane and then fell to the ground – was a reference to John Alder and Liam Sweeney – who lost their lives when the Malaysian MH17 jet was shot down over Ukraine.
Adam Johnson after scoring last Sunday
This is some of what the Telegraph’s Luke Edwards – the former Journal reporter – wrote after the game:
“Some claimed the former England international was making a spiteful and provocative reference to the two Newcastle supporters who died when a Malaysia Airlines Flight was shot down over Ukraine last year.”
“Johnson should apologise for any offence caused, even if was not intended as it was perceived.’”
That was nonsense and players celebrate like that all the time including players like Andy Carroll.
It would be somebody very evil and warped who would do that on purpose, especially because Adam Johnson was a Newcastle United fan when growing up even though he was born in Sunderland.
This is what the Telegraph have now printed as an apology and placed it at the front of Luke’s report of the game:
‘Adam Johnson – an apology
In an earlier version of this report, we included the accusation that Adam Johnson had goaded Newcastle’s supporters with an aeroplane celebration after he scored his goal, which we suggested was a reference to the two Newcastle supporters who died when on the crashed Malaysia Airlines flight over Ukraine, last year.
We now accept that there was absolutely nothing in the goal celebration which could be sensibly taken to have been a reference to these tragic deaths. We apologise unreservedly to Mr Johnson and have agreed to pay a sum of damages to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.’
In addition, The Telegraph have paid a sum of damages to charity – the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
John Alder and Liam Sweeney are treasures at Newcastle United and we’re quite sure that Adam Johnson meant no ill will – and the fact the Telegraph have apologized so quickly tells us that was not in his head at all.
What was in his head was that he had scored (yet again) against Newcastle after Sunderland has been pummeled for the previous 45 minutes of the game.
We’re glad this thing got cleared up quickly and that the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation was given a donation – hopefully a big one.