Raheem Sterling has defended his decision to have a gun tattooed on his right leg.
The Manchester City star’s M16 assault rifle tattoo has attracted criticism from campaign group Mothers Against Guns as well as UK tabloid newspapers, but the England international has now spoken out against the backlash, pointing out that the symbol has personal significance to him.
Sterling took to social media to explain that the tattoo is a reminder of a vow he made about avoiding firearms because his father was shot dead.
“When I was two, my father died from being gunned down to death,” he wrote on Instagram.
“I made a promise to myself I would never touch a gun in my lifetime, I shoot with my right foot so it has a deeper meaning.”
Former England international Gary Lineker is among those to leap to Sterling’s defence, calling the newspapers’ criticism of him “unpatriotic”.