The League Managers' Association (LMA) has apologised after defending controversial comments by former Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay as "friendly text message banter."
The LMA put out an initial statement on behalf of Mackay on Thursday after the Football Association confirmed it was investigating a dossier sent by Cardiff reporting sexist, racist and anti-gay comments by the former Bluebirds manager and head of recruitment, Iain Moody.
The Daily Mail had earlier published examples of the explicit text messages, though it was unclear who precisely is responsible for sending many of them.
The LMA statement denied that Mackay had sent "any homophobic or sexist messages" and added: "There are incorrect and damaging suggestions that he sent a whole host of offensive and unpleasant messages that are simply not true and which give a grossly distorted and unfair view of Malky's involvement in this matter."
Mackay's agent, Raymond Sparkes, also told Sky Sports News that he was "shocked and stunned" by the reports and that his client will fight the allegations.
However, the LMA acknowledged that "Malky had, it seems, sent a couple of one line texts that were, with the benefit of hindsight, very regrettable and disrespectful of other cultures" but said he was "letting off steam to a friend during some friendly text message banter."
Piara Powar, executive director of the anti-discrimination body FARE, criticised the statement on Twitter.
The LMA defending the indefensible. Why would you put out something so utterly ridiculous? Because you haven't a clue.- Piara Powar (@PiaraPowar) August 21, 2014
Former Reading striker Jason Roberts also hit out at the statement.
That's it..I'm done for the evening..The LMA said it better than I ever could.. They are actually being serious! Somebody drafted that..WOW!- Jason Roberts (@JasonRoberts30) August 21, 2014
Former Nottingham Forest and Liverpool star Stan Collymore, meanwhile, called it "disgraceful," adding: "Institutional acceptance of the 'banter' of casual racism."
The LMA released a further statement on Friday morning apologising for the wording of its first statement.
It read: "The LMA apologises for some of its wording, in its release yesterday, which was inappropriate and has been perceived to trivialise matters of a racist, sexist or homophobic nature. That was certainly not our intention.
"It is beyond argument that any comments that are discriminatory, even used in private, are totally unacceptable. The LMA remains absolutely aware of our responsibility to the game and to promote and uphold the highest standards of behaviour.
"The LMA will not be commenting further on the allegations relating to Malky Mackay whilst The FA conducts its investigation, other than to repeat that both the LMA and Malky will be cooperating fully.
"We will continue to work with all of the game's stakeholders to address the important issues of respect and discriminatory behaviour in all its forms."
Cardiff had suspended Moody in November 2013 and sacked Mackay in December that year. The Welsh club declined to make any public comment on the dossier, saying it is a now a legal matter in the hands of the FA.
Mackay is now out of the running for the vacant manager's job at Palace, while Moody resigned from his post as sporting director on Thursday.
The dossier was filed more than a week ago, according to Press Association, and was not deliberately timed to affect Mackay's candidacy at Selhurst Park, though Mackay questioned the timing in the LMA's statement.
The full statement read: "The LMA wish to clarify the position in relation to recent reports and speculation regarding matters alleged to have arisen during Malky Mackay's time at Cardiff City FC.
"In the course of a search by the club in early 2014 of 10,000 private text messages sent to and from another member of staff during Mr Mackay's employment at Cardiff, in relation to other matters, it emerged that Malky had, it seems, sent a couple of one line texts that were, with the benefit of hindsight, very regrettable and disrespectful of other cultures.
"These were two text messages sent in private at a time Malky felt under great pressure and when he was letting off steam to a friend during some friendly text message banter. That said, Malky believes he could and should have conducted himself better on these two isolated occasions. The precise details need to remain private for the time being until any FA process is complete.
"The LMA does not condone in any way any potential breach of equal opportunities laws but would also point out that out of over 10,000 text messages and 70,000 documents produced over a long period of time it may not be a complete surprise that some inappropriate comments can sometimes be made by employees, like Malky, working under great pressure in highly charged situations. If Malky has caused any offence by these two isolated matters he would, however, wish to sincerely apologise.
"Malky finds it strange that these matters were only raised with the FA and in the media now, eight months after his employment ended and the day before he was reported as being offered the opportunity to become manager of Crystal Palace FC.
"Malky is also very concerned about seriously inaccurate and misleading reports of his alleged involvement in these matters in the media. It has never been alleged that he wrote any homophobic or sexist messages and he has confirmed that he did not do so. Further, there are incorrect and damaging suggestions that he sent a whole host of offensive and unpleasant messages that are simply not true and which give a grossly distorted and unfair view of Malky's involvement in this matter.
"Malky looks forward to matters being put straight in due course, following any investigation of this matter.
"Malky cannot of course comment on the nature of any conduct or communications alleged to have been made by others.
"Malky has said that he will be fully co-operating with any FA investigation and that he looks forward to putting the record straight thereafter."