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Ireland sports executive apologizes for post saying "BLACK DIVES MATTER!!!"

Dublin — The chief executive of Ireland's basketball federation has apologized for an offensive social media post about England soccer player Raheem Sterling.

Bernard O'Byrne wrote "BLACK DIVES MATTER!!!" in response to a BBC Facebook post about a controversial penalty drawn by Sterling in England's 2-1 victory over Denmark in the European Championship semifinals on Wednesday.

The penalty was awarded by the referee in extra time. A video review of the incident confirmed the decision.

Britain England Denmark Euro 2020 Soccer
England's Raheem Sterling during the Euro 2020 soccer championship semifinal match between England and Denmark at Wembley stadium in London on July 7, 2021. Carl Recine / AP

"My choice of words commenting on a penalty incident were not thought out," O'Byrne said in a statement issued by Basketball Ireland late Thursday. "It was an error of judgement and I wholeheartedly apologize for the comments."

The governing body said O'Byrne had made the comment from his personal account and that the post has since been deleted.

"Basketball Ireland would like to stress its ongoing commitment to inclusion and basketball's diverse community, which has been led by Mr. O'Byrne in recent years," the federation said in Thursday's statement.

Wednesday's win meant England reached the final of a major tournament for the first time since it won the World Cup in 1966.

The match was watched by half of England's population.

England's young, multi-ethnic squad faces Italy in the final at London's Wembley Stadium on Sunday. 

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