A Premier League footballer has apologised for any offence caused by a tweet to black team-mates that said "it's always good to see you guys smiling".
Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor's message included a picture of four black men, one of whom appeared to be an African tribesman, and was sent to several black players.
It was reported that the tweet, which has now been deleted, was in response to team-mate Massadio Haidara teasing Taylor about his attempts to learn French.
Taylor included the Twitter accounts of fellow Newcastle players Papiss Cisse, Moussa Sissoko and Vurnon Anita in his reply to Haidara.
The message was met with fury on Twitter by football fans, despite Haidara's insistence that it was just banter, prompting Taylor to tweet: "Apologies if my tweet offended anybody."