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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
Jan 7, 2014

Johnson resigns after homophobic slur

Former Derby County defender Michael Johnson has stepped down from the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board after it came to light that he described homosexuality as “detestable” in 2012.

Michael Johnson Derby County
Michael Johnson played for Derby County, Birmingham City and Jamaica before retiring in 2009.

Tasked with helping to eradicate discrimination and under-representation from football, the Inclusion Advisory Board was established in June last year -- ex-England international Graeme Le Saux was also among the names chosen to sit on the panel.

Johnson was appointed to offer his expertise on promoting racial equality but has been criticised in the past week after he was revealed to have made homophobic comments on the BBC's The Big Questions programme in 2012.

"Because of my beliefs, because of the Bible that I read, in the Bible it does state that homosexuality is detestable unto the Lord,” Johnson, who also played for Birmingham City, Notts County and Sheffield Wednesday, said on the programme.

The former defender insisted last Thursday that his views on homosexuality had changed but the FA has confirmed that he has nonetheless decided to step down from the Inclusion Advisory Board because of the furore caused by his comments.

In a statement on the FA’s official website, Johnson said: "I've taken time over the weekend to reflect on the media coverage from last week and feel that it's in the best interests of all concerned if I step down from my duties with the Inclusion Advisory Board.

"My position on the board was voluntary and I've decided to use that time to continue my personal development and education within equality.

“I remain a big advocate of inclusion in football and have actively supported the FA's Coach programme which offers aspiring coaches from black and minority ethnic backgrounds a chance to progress their football qualifications."

Chair of the Inclusion Advisory Board Heather Rabbatts, who publicly criticised the FA in October for appointing an all-white commission to examine the future of English football, said that she believes Johnson still has something to offer her panel.

"It's unfortunate that Michael has decided to step down but he remains 100 percent behind the aims of the Inclusion Advisory Board and is someone that we will be speaking to on a regular basis as we progress throughout this year and beyond,” Rabbatts said.

"He has a wealth of experience in both domestic and international football and is carving out a coaching career with Birmingham City so he's someone that can bring vital expertise to the work of the Inclusion Advisory Board over time."

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