Paolo Di Canio responded to fresh criticism over his appointment as Sunderland manager by insisting he is not a racist and "does not support the ideology of fascism".
The Dean of Durham has become the latest public figure to voice disquiet over Di Canio's appointment.
The club responded by issuing a statement from Di Canio which stated: "I have clearly stated that I do not wish to speak about matters other than football, however, I have been deeply hurt by the attacks on the football club.
"This is a historic, proud and ethical club and to read and hear some of the vicious and personal accusations is painful. I am an honest man, my values and principles come from my family and my upbringing.
"I feel that I should not have to continually justify myself to people who do not understand this, however I will say one thing only - I am not the man that some people like to portray.
"I am not political, I do not affiliate myself to any organisation, I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of fascism. I respect everyone.
"I am a football man and this and my family are my focus. Now I will speak only of football."