John Barnes believes Liam Neeson "defends a medal" for his controversial comments about his violent feelings of revenge.

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson

The former soccer star - who suffered racist abuse during his sporting career - has spoken out to defend the 66-year-old actor after he admitted he deliberately tried to get into a fight with a black person so he could "kill" them after a female friend or relative was raped.

John told Sky News he respected Liam for his admission and claims that everyone is an "unconscious racist".

He said: "I think Liam Neeson deserves a medal. I've listened to the whole interview transcript and he was talking about his film 'Cold Pursuit' and how, having been brought up in Northern Ireland, he understands how destructive revenge can be.

"You can't blame (him) for thinking what he feels - and this was a while ago - because society and the media had shown him this is what black people do. So he said, in that moment, for a week, he was looking around to 'kill a black person'. He went on to say was that he was ashamed and horrified by the way he felt...

"As much as people are now jumping on this bandwagon of how terrible it is, what he has done is come out and he's told the truth.

"The big problem we have is when people are afraid to admit the way they actually feel...

"I have more respect for him now than if he had come out and said 'I view all black people as equal, I just view everybody as equal'.

"I always say, we are all unconscious racists. And he said, unconsciously for a week and a half, that's how he felt. We have people who have been doing it and keeping it quiet for 20 years, but as long as you don't admit it then we think everything is okay."

He added the 'Taken' star was the victim of a "witch hunt" and dismissed claims the actor's movies should be boycotted.

He said: "So let's take down that statue of Winston Churchill... who is a white supremacist and a mass murderer...

"How is Churchill a hero when he spoke about... he believes in gassing the lesser races. But he's a hero. And when Liam Neeson comes out and he admits that he was wrong in what he did, whereas Winston Churchill would never admit he was wrong, never, and if he was alive now he would still believe in the superiority of the Aryan race.

"But Liam Neeson - someone who admits that, after a week and a half of thinking what he thought, he was wrong, which is fine as far as I'm concerned, we're now pillorying him."

He went on to suggest Liam's comments were "positive" and the actor "should be applauded" for his admission of being "an unconscious racist".

He added: "People are going to be afraid of admitting it now because of what's happened to Liam Neeson."

Liam made his candid confession when describing his reaction when the female acquaintance confided in him about being raped.

He said: "I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.

"I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I'd be approached by somebody - I'm ashamed to say that - and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some 'black b*****d' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.

"It took me a week, maybe a week and a half, to go through that. She would say, 'Where are you going?' And I would say, 'I'm just going out for a walk.' You know? 'What's wrong?' 'No no, nothing's wrong.' "

The 'Schindler's List' actor admits his shocking confession was "horrible" and he eventually learned a lesson from his "awful" attitude.

He said: "It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. And I've never admitted that, and I'm saying it to a journalist. God forbid. It's awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, 'What the f**k are you doing,' you know?"

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