(Reuters) - Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish says he has been doing as much charity work as possible to make amends after being disciplined by the club for ignoring lockdown rules during the COVID-19 pandemic.
British media had reported West Midlands Police opened an investigation after the midfielder was pictured leaving an estate in Birmingham following a traffic accident in March.
The 24-year-old apologised in a video posted on Twitter before the club said they would discipline him.
“I knew straight away that I had to come out and apologise myself,” the Times quoted Grealish as saying. “I didn’t want to hide behind a club statement. I’m old enough now and mature enough to know I’d done wrong.
“Since then I’ve tried to keep my head down, work hard and do as much charitable work as possible.
“I raised money for the NHS by raffling off my shirt I wore in the game against Birmingham City.”
Media reports said the shirt raised over 55,000 pounds ($62,910) for the National Health Service and that Grealish had also donated 150,000 pounds to a local hospital.
“I know I’m a footballer but I’m still human and we all make mistakes,” Grealish added.
“I’m also a role model as well to a lot of people out there, especially young children who might look up to me. I try to act in a respectable manner.
“I respect my job and absolutely love what I do.”
Villa are second bottom in the league with 25 points from 28 games. The season is set to resume on June 17.
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Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford