Aston Villa’s captain, Jack Grealish, has apologised for breaking the government lockdown after being pictured at the scene of a road accident on Sunday morning.
Without giving any details about the incident in Solihull in which a Range Rover crashed into two parked cars, the player admitted he was at the scene after defying the ban against non-essential travel by going to visit a friend.
Aston Villa have said they are “deeply disappointed” with the player’s action and punished the 24-year-old with a fine that will be donated to the University Hospitals Charity in Birmingham. Less than 24 hours before the incident, Grealish had issued a public appeal to his social media followers to “stay home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.”
“I just want to do a quick video message to say how deeply embarrassed I am by what has happened this weekend,” said the player on social media on Monday, some 36 hours after the incident. “I know it’s a tough time for everyone at the moment being locked indoors for so long. I obviously just got a call off a friend asking to go around to his and I stupidly agreed to do so.
“I don’t want anyone to make the same mistake that I did, so I obviously urge everyone to stay at home and follow the rules and the guidelines of what we’ve been asked to do. I know for a fact that I’ll be doing that in the near future now and I urge everyone to do the same.
“I hope everyone can accept my apology and we can move on from this. Hopefully obviously in the near future we can all be out enjoying ourselves again one we can all be out again soon once this has all boiled over.”
West Midlands police said earlier on Monday that they had made arrangements to speak to the driver of the Range Rover “to obtain more details around the circumstances of the collision from the driver”.
The force declined to confirm the identity of the driver. Police have been in touch with the player but sources close to him say charges are not expected to follow. “We can’t confirm that at this stage,” commented West Midlands police.