English soccer player Tom Pope is facing a suspension from professional play relating to his use of social media after he wrote an allegedly anti-Semitic post on Twitter claiming that the Jewish Rothschild banking family would profit from a third world war.
The UK’s Football Association announced on Wednesday that Pope had been charged with an “aggravated breach” of FA rule E3″ because his tweet had “included a reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or religion and/or ethnic origin.”
The association last month declared that it was investigating Pope after he tweeted an anti-Semitic message in response to being asked to “predict the WWIII result,” a reference to American tensions with Iran.
“We invade Iran then Cuba then North Korea then the Rothchilds (sic) are crowned champions of every bank on the planet,” the striker replied.
The Rothschilds, a French Jewish family whose banking connections date to the 18th century, are a frequent target of offensive global conspiracy theories.
Pope later deleted the tweet and insisted he was unaware it could be perceived as anti-Semitic, but the post became the subject of both Football Association and Port Vale football club investigations.
“Following the reaction to my response on Twitter about the Rothschilds, I was unaware of any link between the Roth(s)child family and the Jewish community,” he said. “If I have caused offense to anyone, I’d like to apologize enormously as this was never my intention.”
Despite this initial apology, however, Pope subsequently doubled down, denying that he was racist and asserting “they own the bloody banks! There’s no racial malice whatsoever and anyone would say the bloody same! I didn’t choose a side I merely stated they own the banks and that’s it! End of story I’m not saying anymore on it.”
Racist?? They own the bloody banks! There’s no racial malice whatsoever and anyone would say the bloody same! I didn’t choose a side I merely stated they own the banks and that’s it! End of story I’m not saying anymore on it
— Tom Pope (@Tom_Pope9) January 5, 2020
The 34-year-old has already served two one-game suspensions this season over his online activity.
He had previously created a storm on social media after scoring a goal for the fourth-tier club in the third-round FA Cup tie against Manchester City in January.
Last year, Pope mocked City defender John Stones in a tweet, claiming he would score 40 goals a season if he faced the England international every week, but he followed up his goal by saying it would be “more like 50.”