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John Barnes: Liam Neeson deserves a medal for honesty of race revenge comments

FORMER England footballer John Barnes has said Liam Neeson deserves a medal for his honesty after the actor revealed he once held violent thoughts about killing a black person in revenge after someone close to him was raped.

The Hollywood star sparked controversy after he said he had walked the streets armed with a cosh, hoping he would be approached by ‘a black b*****d’ so that he could kill him.

Barnes (pictured top), who suffered racist abuse during his football career, has praised Neeson for telling the truth and said his feelings were the result of a negative portrayal of black people in the media.

Controversial comments: Liam Neeson PICTURES: REX

He told Sky News: ‘I’ve listened to the whole transcript, Liam Neeson was talking about his film, revenge, and he’s talking about how revenge doesn’t do anyone any good.’

He went onto say that the Hollywood star cannot be blamed for his thoughts at the time because ‘this is what society has shown him, that black people do, Muslims do — this is what society has wrongly shown him, this is what the media have wrongly portrayed to him’.

He added: ‘Now what he actually went on to say is he is ashamed and horrified by the way he felt.

‘He’s not ashamed and horrified in wanting to commit the act of revenge, he’s ashamed and horrified because that is what he felt about all black people.’

Discussing his remarks on US talk show Good Morning America today, Liam Neeson denied he was a racist, explaining he had grown up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, where he witnessed revenge on a regular basis.

He said he would have had the same reaction if his friend, who has since died, had told him she was raped by a white man.

He added: ‘If she had said Irish or Scot or a Brit or a Lithuanian, I know it would have had the same effect.

‘I was trying to show honour to and stand up for my dear friend in this terrible medieval fashion.’