Kelvin MacKenzie has responded to his controversial Sun article which led to his suspension from the newspaper and a ban on its journalists at Everton Football Club.

Earlier this month he wrote about midfielder Ross Barkley, comparing the “look in his eyes” to a gorilla. However, Barkley’s grandfather was born in Nigeria.

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Everton bans The Sun after MacKenzie’s “appalling” column

The former tabloid editor claimed he had no knowledge of his family background and that his article wasn’t racist.

Today, in a diary piece for the The Spectator, he wrote:

“The reality is that had I known of his family tree I would never have made the comparison, but since I am a columnist and not a researcher on Who Do You Think You Are? I didn’t know, and have yet to meet anybody who did. Including the Sun sports editor.”

He added that opinion of Sun readers was “100-1” in his favour, and he had even been supported by Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission:

“This is what he said: ‘WTF? I have to confess I had no idea Barkley was a brother. Sad to see a great city wallowing in victim status. Unbelievable.’”

Following the publication, Everton announced that it had banned The Sun from all areas of the team’s operation.