Kyle Walker says he feels he is being ‘harassed’ by the media after a national newspaper reported he broke the lockdown to visit family in Sheffield. The Manchester City defender has already faced an internal club disciplinary procedure in the last month after breaking the government’s social distancing rules to host a party at his Cheshire home.
Kyle Walker said “I want to take this opportunity to issue a public apology for the choices I made last week. I understand that my position as a professional footballer brings the responsibility of being a role model. As such, I want to apologise to my family, friends, football club, supporters and the public for letting them down.”
City released a statement saying they were disappointed to hear those allegations against Walker, and that they would investigate themselves. Now, new reports in the same newspaper say Walker attended a party in Rotherham, before visiting his parents in Sheffield and then returning to his home in Cheshire. In response, Walker moved to explain his actions, saying he feels ‘harassed’ by photographers and that the mental health of himself and his family is suffering as a result.
Kyle Walker “I feel as though I have stayed silent for long enough. In light of the most recent article published about me and my family, I feel as though I have no choice but to address things publicly. I have recently gone through one of the toughest periods of my life, which I take full responsibility for. However, I now feel as though I am being harassed. This is no longer solely affecting me, but affecting the health of my family and my young children too. In relation to the events on Wednesday, I travelled to Sheffield to give my sister a birthday card and present, but also to speak to one of the few people I believe I can trust in my life. She hugged me to remind me how much she cares and that I am loved. What am I meant to do – push her away? I then travelled to my parents’ house to pick up some home-cooked meals. Again it’s been an extremely tough couple of months for them: everything I’ve gone through in my life they have gone through with me. What have my parents and sister done to deserve their privacy being invaded by photographers following me to their homes? I constantly feel as though I’m being followed. I don’t even feel safe in the confines of my own home – why should they have to feel like that too? Who deserves that? I am in a privileged position as a role model and a professional athlete, and can assure you from my upbringing I do not take it for granted. But, at what stage do my feelings get taken into consideration? My family has been torn apart, this has been dragged through the press, and I ask: when is enough enough? At a time when the focus is understandably on Covid-19, at what point does mental health get taken into consideration, an illness which affects every sufferer differently? I am a human being, with feelings of pain and upset just like everybody else. Being in the public eye as a professional athlete does not make you immune to this. It is sad, but I feel as though my life is being scrutinised without any context. I understand if people are upset or angry with me, but it was important for people to have a better understanding of my life. Thank you for taking the time to hear my feelings.”