Everton defender Shane Duffy is said to be facing a club fine after a message was sent from his Twitter account showing support for the IRA.
Duffy denied sending the tweet, saying somebody took his phone while he was on a night out on St Patrick's Day and retweeted the "Up the 'Ra!" message without his knowledge.
The Derry-born Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, who switched allegiance after previously representing Northern Ireland U-21s, has 49,000 followers on the micro-blogging site and came in for stinging criticism after the tweet was sent.
He later tweeted: "Sorry everyone some little paddy had my phone last night tweets weren't me.. sorry if it offended anyone!! cant leave ur phone anywhere now!!"
He added: "Wow so much hate on something I didn't do.. Fair enough gotta take it because its my twitter. And again It was not me who tweeted and retweeted loads last night! Really am sorry if it offended anyone.. Sorry guys!
"Can't do much more ino it's offended a lot of people getting a lot of hate for something I didn't do. Far too much to lose for tweeting something like that. The retweets and tweets was not me. Got to accept the hate. Really am sorry for this mess! Sorry guys!"
One of Duffy's followers dismissed his claim, tweeting: "Lad, you need to knock this 'somebody got my phone' business on the head. It's making it a million times worse." Duffy replied: "u want me to make a lie up? It's what happened!!!"
Everton issued a statement backing his version of events, although reports in the UK say they will fine the player for bringing bad publicity on the club. The statement read: "Shane was on an evening out when his phone was taken by someone, who then retweeted an offensive remark, for which Shane has this morning publicly apologised."
Last month Sunderland winger James McClean closed his Twitter account after he provoked controversy by tweeting that his favourite song was the Wolfe Tones' 'Broad Black Brimmer' - a song about a boy whose father was killed fighting for the IRA in the 1920s.
McClean tweeted: "On flight for the maras game. Only one thing for it -headphones in, Wolfe Tones on! What's everyone's fave song? Broad Black Brimmer edges mine."McClean, who like Duffy is from Derry and who also opted to play for the Republic after representing Northern Ireland U-21s, received death threats last year after refusing to sport a commemorative poppy on his Sunderland shirt for Remembrance Day.
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