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Footballer vows to sue over "come out as gay" article

Footballer Joey Barton is not amused one bit by a cheeky article by Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail in the UK, suggesting that the midfielder should come out as gay.

Barton, who plays for the Queens Park Rangers, is currently on loan to Olympique de Marseille in the Ligue 1 in France. Since his stay there, Barton has developed a French accent of sorts on top of his British accent, and has been mocked in the British press. He also has a history of being a bad boy on the pitch, and twice has been convicted of assault charges.

Samuel's article apparently was in response to comments by Manchester United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard, who opines that football (soccer) needs a "gay hero." The columnist sort of agreed with the goalkeeper, wanting someone to come out so "the sport can get on with its life." Later in his article, Samuel writes:

"So here’s a thought. Joey Barton continues his quest for intellectual and social respectability. Why not come out as gay?

"Instant credibility, instant respect, untouchable by the Football Association or future employers. His past misdeeds mentally reprocessed and explained. ...

"And imagine the new material. A never-ending treasure trove for Barton’s Twitter feed: Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, Oscar Wilde, Lady Bunny.

"And, let’s face it, with that new accent, he’s probably halfway there."

Barton is now threatening to sue the tabloid newspaper. He took to Twitter (@Joey7Barton) to express his feelings:

"I see Jim Royles giving it beans about my sexuality in the Daily Mail"

"Like thats anything to do with him. Can he say what he's said?"

"Sounds slightly bigoted and homophobic to me. Any legal-eagles out there know if he can get away with this?"

"My sexuality is of no concern to anyone except me and my family. Can't see the missus being happy about this piece."

"Nor, would I like my child (when old enough) to read this tripe. Shoddy journalism."

"I will probably have to sue. I don't really need the money or the hassle. So I offer this as a olive branch."

"Actually, no. Theres no olive branch. Enough's enough. Its just wrong and a little bit weird why he would write this."

"In light of the Leveson enquiry, it seems a strange thing to print. I mean I have never even met the guy. He doesn't know me. Shocking."

Barton was referring to Lord Leveson, who recently published a report on British press standards.

But Barton wasn't ready to let the issue die, continuing on Twitter:

"I've put a call in to colleagues of Martin's asking him to call me and explain his piece and his homophobia in general.

"I shall wait for his retort before I decide what to do. Its actually a disgusting piece. That says more about him and his outlook."

"People's sexuality. Colour of skin. Religious beliefs. Should not matter. It should not be an issue. Yet, time an time again it is."

So far, no response from the columnist.