“I think you have to judge players by what they do on the football pitch, rather than on anything else,” Gray told the Sunday Sun.
“It’s very easy to say something which comes back to haunt you later – particularly these days, with Twitter and everything. But the important thing is that you have to be professional when you play.
“Sunderland fans have proved in the past that what matters is how a player performs for their club.
“I played in sides with players from Tyneside – Lee Clark, who is a really good friend of mine, and Don Hutchison to name but two.
“Everyone knew their background, but it wasn’t ever an issue when they played for Sunderland.”