Albion Rovers have pledged “unconditional backing” to David Cox after their player retired from football during their game against Stenhousemuir having reported a slur over his mental health.
The substitute, who has spoken openly about his mental health struggles including a suicide attempt, walked out of Cliftonhill during the Scottish League Two clash.
The 32-year-old striker declared himself finished with football, having previously vowed to walk off the field if taunts over his mental health continued.
Stenhousemuir say they will refer an incident involving their player, Jonathan Tiffoney, to the Scottish Football Association.
A Rovers statement read: “The health, safety and wellbeing of everyone associated with Albion Rovers is of paramount importance to us.
“Football is a place for all and we believe it should be enjoyed without fear, favour or prejudice.
“We are aware of an alleged incident… and have been in touch with David Cox to offer our unconditional backing and support.”
Cox outlined his feelings in a video posted on social media.
Sitting in a vehicle with his Rovers tracksuit on, Cox said: “The second half is just starting, Albion Rovers and Stenhousemuir. I have left the stadium.
“I wasn’t playing tonight I was on the bench, one of the boys on the Stenny team… we were having a wee bit of to-and-fro on the bench and they had a wee go at my mental health. Told me I should have done it right the first time.
“So I promised myself the next time it happened I’d walk off the park… I am done with football. Completely.
“Some folk might not think it’s a big deal, I’m f*****g fed up listening to it. Don’t get paid enough for it and if they’d put me on the park I’d probably have broken the boy’s legs, deliberately.
“I tried to speak to the referees about it, they didn’t want to know because they didn’t hear it. It’s the same s*** we’re talking about all the time, we talk about racism and the personal issues that get brought up in football, because it’s not heard by officials or whatever there’s nothing they can do about it.
“So I’m going to do something about it and for me it’s leaving the game. I’m done with it.”
A statement from Stenhousemuir read: “The club is aware of a verbal altercation that took place between players from both Stenhousemuir and Albion Rovers.
“We have spoken to the players involved, David Cox (Albion Rovers) who was on the bench, and Jonathan Tiffoney (Stenhousemuir) who was playing.
“Both players are making claims of serious and wholly inappropriate comments being made during the game that have implications for player wellbeing and mental health.
“Whilst we accept that things can get said during a game, we believe the allegations are sufficiently serious enough to merit a more detailed investigation.
“We will be referring this to the Scottish FA and will work with them and our colleagues at Albion Rovers to investigate the incident.”
Back Onside, the mental health charity of which Cox is patron, expressed its “shock and disgust” at the incident.
“This isn’t the first time David has suffered this sort of abuse and it is 100 per cent unacceptable and something needs to be done,” a statement added.
“This is exactly the reason why players don’t want to reach out and talk about their mental health as when they do, it is used against them and not just by fans.”