Arsenal winger Theo Walcott claims his Twitter account was hacked after a controversial tweet was posted on Monday night.
The tweet showed a picture of two young men accompanied by the hashtag “GayLords” and a crying-with-laughter emoji.
It was posted minutes before Walcott entered the fray as a second-half substitute during Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Hull City - which means it’s safe to say he wasn’t to blame for this particular tweet.
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Less than an hour after the match had finished, Walcott tweeted: “Seems my account got hacked” followed by an angry-faced emoji.
The Mirror speculate that someone involved in Walcott’s PR team may have inadvertently sent the tweet from the Arsenal star’s account instead of their own.
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Walcott did not send the tweet
They make the point that the tweet in question was swiftly deleted - and that this may not have happened had Walcott genuinely been the victim of a successful hacking attempt.
It seems implausible that Walcott would have sent the tweet himself, not least because he was sat on the Arsenal bench at the time.
Furthermore, the content of the tweet in question would have left him at serious risk of an FA charge, and Walcott is hardly renowned for his troublemaking antics.
Back in July 2012, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was charged by the FA for his controversial ‘choc ice’ tweet, while West Ham striker Carlton Cole was charged earlier this year following an offensive Twitter exchange with a Tottenham fan.
Perhaps the earliest charge of this type was back in January 2011, when former Liverpool winger Ryan Babel posted a doctored picture of referee Howard Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt.
Walcott, and other professional footballers, are acutely aware of the need to act responsibly when using social media - but the Arsenal star is unlikely to occur a charge on this occasion because, it seems, he wasn’t responsible.
Walcott should consider leaving Arsenal
It promises to be a pivotal few months in the career of Walcott, whose Arsenal contract expires in just over 12 months’ time.
It’s understood that Walcott is prepared to begin contract negotiations with the Gunners, but whether they will be able to guarantee him the first-team opportunities he craves is currently unclear.
Walcott has failed to win a place in Arsene Wenger’s starting line-up since returning from his lengthy injury lay-off - and he could be set for another frustrating season next term, unless he negotiates a move away from the Emirates Stadium.
Should Theo Walcott leave Arsenal this summer? Have your say in the comments below!