English soccer fans on Twitter have been quick take up a cause close to their hearts: a plea to free Gazza — rather than Gaza — former star player Paul Gascoigne.
As the online debate over Israel’s ongoing military campaign in the Gaza Strip continues, Twitter users have been tagging their posts with the #freeGaza hashtag in a show of support for Palestinians.
However, some soccer fans, whether in error or humor, have been tweeting messages calling for Gascoigne to be set free from whatever trouble it is that he has gotten into, the Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.
The former England national team midfield player has in the past made headlines as he struggled with alcoholism and drug abuse.
“Shame about Paul Cascoigne being arrested again,” one user posted.
Shame about Paul Gascoigne being arrested again #FreeGaza
— Sam Masterson (@sam_masterson) July 28, 2014
Others subtly changed the #freeGaza tag to a #freeGazza label instead along with messages of support.
Didn't know the great man had been locked up, but I'm jumping on the band wagon #FreeGazza
— Dave (@davastorm88) July 29, 2014
“I thought the Gaza strip was a row of bars and clubs in Newcastle in honor of Paul Gascoigne,” another wrote, in a reference to the area of north England where Cascoigne was born.
I thought the Gaza strip was a row of bars and clubs in Newcastle in honour of Paul Gascoigne… I need to watch the news more often!
— Lee Davison (@LeeDavo8) July 28, 2014
The #freeGaza hashtag has been used by several celebrities in recent weeks, some of whom quickly removed and apologized after fans protested their involvement in such a sensitive political debate.