Raheem Sterling has never had an easy ride with the media, and the Manchester City star drew more unwanted attention after showing off his new tattoo.
The former Liverpool star, who moved to the Etihad Stadium in 2015, revealed the new ink on his right calf during a training session with England ahead of the World Cup.
The 23-year-old posted an image to Instagram, which showed his tattoo of an M16 assault rifle.
The picture caused outrage among ant-gun protestors and The Sun was one of the tabloid newspapers to run with the story.
On Instagram, Sterling explained the reasoning behind his tattoo choice, claiming that it was related to his late father, who was shot dead in Kingston, Jamaica when the footballer was just two years old.
Sterling stated in the social media post that the gum symbolised a “promise to myself I would never touch a gun in my lifetime”.
The media reaction has caused some City fans to defend their player, with some calling for the attack-minded star to walk away from international duty with England.
He should just quit England and focus on City and the club/fans who truly care about him.
— Joe Vols (@THEjoevols) May 29, 2018
You’d think trump runs the English media
— mancity? (@254city1) May 29, 2018
Damn- can’t they just let my dude live?
— Justice For All (@justicehampton) May 29, 2018
What kind of media write negative stuff about their Country’s players just before the world cup?
— Cordi (@Cordi_Maverick) May 28, 2018
Why do they even care what he Inks? It’s His Body!!! The Media has something against Raheem, he could have an Amazing season and they will still find something to Bash him for.
— BRIYT THOMSON (@BRIYT_) May 30, 2018
@sterling7 As usual people far to quick to judge….there is some bad stuff in this world and we are all quick to point it out. Perhaps we would be better celebrating the good to keep our own balloons flying high #resilience is built on mindset
— Toby Booth (@Boothy6) May 29, 2018
They’re just trying to be relevant
— Nathan Yusuf (@Migraine_Nay) May 29, 2018
Doesn’t even have to explain himself ..it’s a tattoo,so what ?
— Chase (@chase84_chase) May 29, 2018