Anthony Gerrard has been stripped of the Chesterfield captaincy over messages he posted on Twitter on Saturday night.
Gerrard, 33, signed for the Spireites in the summer after leaving Carlisle United and was made captain by manager John Sheridan.
The central defender did not play in Town's first win of the season against Torquay United at the Proact on Saturday due to a hamstring injury.
Later that evening he published several unsavoury tweets in response to some criticism he received online.
In response to one fan who criticised him, Gerrard replied: "You’ve got far to much say for yourself fella, come to the ground on Tuesday and voice your opinion while your standing in front of me, rather than acting brave behind your phone. look forward to seeing you."
Another tweet to a fan read: "I couldn’t give 2 hoots wot you think of me to be honest, but rather than be a coward and hide behind your phone screen feel free to say it to my face, look me in the eye and say everything. But I doubt that very much because your a coward."
He later added: "I do love football fans, they give you dogs abuse for week after week. And when you bite back it’s “sack him now, he’s calling me names” Twitter and social media really is the gift that keeps giving."
A number of other messages were posted by Gerrard but we have chosen not to repeat them.
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On Monday Chesterfield launched an internal investigation into the matter and it was concluded yesterday.
The club considered the matter very serious and as part of the disciplinary process Gerrard has been hit with a significant financial penalty and he has issued an apology.
The Derbyshire Times contacted Chesterfield and a spokesperson for the club confirmed that as part of the disciplinary process Gerrard has been stripped of the captain's armband.
In a statement released by the club, Gerrard said : “I accept that I was wrong to respond to messages sent to me via social media. It was not my intention to bring the club into disrepute and I would like to apologise to anyone who was offended by my comments.
“I have the utmost respect for this club and the people associated with it and will do everything I can to help improve the club’s standing, both on the pitch and by representing Chesterfield FC in the community.”
While club chief executive Graham Bean said: “When used properly, social media is a highly-effective communication tool. As a club, we condemn the posting of inappropriate content on social media and would urge people to respect others when using this medium.”
Before leaving Carlisle United Gerrard had been at Oldham Athletic where had his contract terminated by the Latics for 'gross misconduct arising from certain social media posts which brought the club into disrepute'.