Sandro Grande is in hot water after making comments about Pauline Marois.
Credits: File Photo.
MONTREAL — A former Montreal Impact soccer star who once choked a teammate has been suspended from his youth coaching job for virulent Twitter and Facebook posts against Quebec Premier Pauline Marois.
Sandro Grande has since shut down his accounts and apologized, but the 35-year-old Montrealer still faces dismissal.
A Twitter account in Grande's name supported the gunman who shot and killed a man outside a Montreal nightclub where Marois was giving her victory speech on Sept. 4.
Disgruntled fishing-lodge owner Richard Henry Bain faces 16 charges including first-degree murder in the rampage that killed lighting technician Denis Blanchette.
A tweet by user @grandesandro, posted the day after the shooting, read "The only mistake the shooter made last night was not getting the target!!!Marois!!!Next time buddy!! Hopefully! (sic)"
A rant on Grande's Facebook page also dismissed Parti Quebecois voters as "F**ken hillbillies in the north," adding that separatists are "stupid" and "on wellfare! (sic)"
In a letter published on his soccer club's website, Grande apologized for the Facebook comments, saying "my actions and my words were very immature and irresponsible."
The former Italian Serie A midfielder also claimed his Twitter account had been hijacked. He didn't return QMI Agency's phone calls this week.
Local PQ official Michel Leduc said Grande's comments were "unacceptable" and suggested the party might file a police complaint.
The regional soccer association says Grande was temporarily relieved of his duties and that a final decision will be made "within the next ten days."
Grande is one of the most accomplished Quebec-born soccer players of the modern era, having played in Italy's top and mid-level leagues from 2001 to 2004.
He had stints with his hometown Impact in 2004 and 2008-09 before the franchise made the jump to Major League Soccer.
The Impact released Grande in 2009 after he choked team captain and assistant coach Mauro Biello during a match.
- With files from Brian Daly