Stuart Baxter, who was sacked on Tuesday by Odisha FC, has issued a statement addressing the events that not only led to his dismissal, but public uproar as a result.
Reacting after his side’s 1-0 defeat in the Indian Super League, the former Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana coach picked a poor and strange choice of words to express his views about his team being denied a penalty.
“I don't know when we are going to get our penalty. One of my players will have to rape someone or get raped himself if he was going to get a penalty,” Baxter said in a television interview on Monday.
Odisha sacked him the next morning.
Baxter, 67, has now apologised for his comments.
In a statement to the Siya crew, he said: “It must be clear and simple that I distance myself from any sympathetic position on the gender based crimes and violence. I find that abhorrent. My comments, though wholly inappropriate and misplaced, are also out of context.”
The coach said in his efforts to find the words to describe his own dismay at how a penalty was not awarded in their game against Jamshedpur, things got “muddled”.
“I was searching for the words and I got it wrong. But people that know me know that getting it wrong does not reflect any of my views as a father, grandfather, a citizen and a husband. There’s never been any sort of suspicion that I am not wholly against violence towards females. It would be cowardly, I think it is despicable and I have always made my views known,” Baxter said.
“This is not who I am, and anybody that knows, me knows who I am.”
He stressed that the public’s view of him was essential.
“When you lose a job, that’s a job. But what people think of you is important to me. The biggest pain I am feeling now is that I have not spoken in the way that reflects how I feel, and therefore people are questioning me,” the coach added.
“That hurts – more than losing my job.”
Baxter has two weeks to sort out paperwork after his dismissal having been in the Indian Super League bio-bubble for five months now to conclude the season. He was appointed in August, on a one-year deal with an option to renew for another 12 months.
Story by @superjourno
See the gallery above for names of famous coaches who've been at Odisha FC