English Soccer Player in Hot Water Over Antisemitic ‘Rothschild’ Tweet
An English professional soccer player on Monday issued a qualified apology after an antisemitic tweet he posted over the weekend caused widespread offense.
Tom Pope — a forward for Port Vale, who sit in the fourth tier of the English Football League (EFL) — said he had not intended to offend anyone with a remark about the Rothschild family, a traditional target of antisemites.
Pope made the sports headlines on Saturday after he scored Port Vale’s only goal as they were defeated 4-1 by top Premier League side Manchester City. One Port Vale fan asked Pope on Twitter to “predict the World War III result you king!”
Replied Pope: “We invade Iran then Cuba then North Korea then the Rothchilds [sic] are crownded (sic) champions of every bank on the planet — the end.”
According to The Jewish Chronicle, when warned by other Twitter users that his comments could be seen as racist, Pope responded: “I mentioned them owning the banks which is fact and now I’m facing all this.”
He added in another: “How is it racist?? Seriously is someone out to destroy me or what?”
One user told him: “Because Rothschild conspiracies have been used throughout history as a way of smearing the Jewish community and have quite rightly been identified as anti-Semitic.
“This myth in particular is one of the most commonly used and has been debunked thousands of times.”
On Monday, Pope partially climbed down.
“Following the reaction to my response on Twitter about the Rothschilds, I was unaware of any link between the Rothchild (sic) family and the Jewish community,” he said in a statement. “If I have caused offense to anyone, I’d like to apologize enormously as this was never my intention.”
Both the UK soccer authorities and Port Vale’s management were conducting respective internal investigations into the matter.