The best thing to do in this scenario, is to consider the situation without the RS influences. The ban is not for them or on their behalf or because of any pressure they've applied. The defence is for Barkley, the fans and the club, that just happens to align with the RS on this occasion. If this was the Daily Mail, I would expect a very different response from RS fans, but the same action from us. In life you will have to dance with the devil, it doesn't mean you have to change all your steps.
The Sun made this into a huge story, then called Barkley thick and the missing link, called everyone from the city a drug dealer etc. The article is often the sort of thing that happens when players want to leave a club, as it devalues them. I don't think Barkley or his agent had any intention of this happening or getting out there, but it will have devalued him and/or make him more likely to want to leave or at least make this an awkward time for him.
I'd be fairly sure McKenzie wasn't aware about heritage, and it's not hard to imagine him taking offence at the idea that someone needs to edit or check his work.
But we have a duty of care to Barkley, as an asset as well as a person and the description of him deserves a robust rebuke. I'd understand why he'd reconsider his position if we didn't given circumstances. He's been the victim of a scandalised sucker punch, then used as a denigrated weapon by a bitter, twisted cunt of a man.
If this was some small online publication, I could understand why you don't give it exposure. But the Sun are capable of setting the news agenda as they have done here, and ignoring what is already a scandal, rarely works.