“Basketball Ireland takes a zero tolerance stance on any form of discrimination, and diversity and inclusion are key pillars in our sport,” said Basketball Ireland chairman Paul McDevitt, describing the comment as “unacceptable.”
O’Byrne’s comment preceded the wave of racist abuse directed toward Black players from the England squad after their shootout loss to Italy in the European Championship final.
O’Byrne had joined the federation in 2011 after a stint as CEO of the Football Association of Ireland.
“While I am hugely disappointed that this is how my decade with Basketball Ireland has ended, I understand that stepping down is in the best interests of the sport,” O’Byrne said in the joint statement with the governing body.
“I am deeply apologetic over the hurt caused by my remark and I am fully cognizant of the struggles with discrimination that many people are having to deal with in day-to-day life,” his statement continued. “My comment was an off-the-cuff, extremely ill-judged attempt at humor based on wordplay only, that was never intended to be racially insensitive or make light of organizations which have done so much to help raise awareness of inclusion and discrimination.”
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