'Higher power' will judge me, insists Barton
Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton believes a 'high power' will judge him on his actions when he dies.
The 25-year-old is expected to appear in court next year charged with occasioning actual bodily harm on former Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo, although he insists he did nothing wrong.
He has also attracted negative headlines after stubbing out a cigar in the eye of a City youth team player at a Christmas party and assaulting a 15-year-old boy on a pre-season trip to Thailand with the Blues.
Barton has never been anything less than candid in interviews - most recently he called Newcastle fans' treatment of manager Sam Allardyce 'vicious' - but insists he will ultimately judged on his words and actions by a higher being.
'With things that have happened you become more spiritual, and I think the main thing for me is I don't think I'd ever be judged on this earth,' he said.
'I think at the end of the day you can do whatever you want to do here.
'There's one person standing there and that's you, and you've got to answer to every decision you've made. Whatever high power it is, when you finally meet him.
'Whether it be right or wrong, I believe when I stand in front of my maker then I can say to him `yeah, I did this for this reason; this, that for this reason'.'
Barton feels much of his notoriety is unjustified, and revealed that after Barton's younger brother Michael was involved in the racially-motivated murder of Anthony Walker in Liverpool he feared his team-mates at City saw him as a racist too.
'I had to go into the training ground and apologise for my behaviour in Thailand and I'm standing there looking and half our side at the time was of all different races,' he told the BBC's Inside Sport programme, which airs tonight.
'So I'm standing there thinking 'do these (people) think I'm a racist?'