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Sport

Condemned rugby players makes apology for homophobic comment

Meka Beresford April 1, 2017

A rugby player who was condemned for making a homophobic comment online has apologised.

Lima Sopoaga, a player in the All Blacks first-five wrote online “hah gayyyyyyyyyyye” on a picture that his team-mate Malakai Fekitoa uploaded of himself being kissed by two other players.

The comment caused outrage among the sports community.

Jeremy Brankin, the head of the New Zealand Falcons gay rugby team, hit out at the comment in a column for Radio New Zealand.

Brankin wrote: “So, with all this emphasis placed upon respect and responsibility, why am I reading a high-profile All Black’s use of the word “gay” in such a manner in a public forum?

“Is it a lack of knowledge, ignorance – or do these players not give a damn?

“The All Blacks prove themselves time and again on the field,” said Brankin. “It is time these players showed respect and responsibility off the field as well?”

Since the reaction Sopoaga quickly deleted his commented and wrote an apology.

He wrote: “Sorry to anyone who took offence to my comment above. I’m not homophobic but understand how my comment may have been interpreted that way. Chur have a nice day”

NZ Rugby general manager for rugby Neil Sorensen told Radio NZ: “We have an expectation that all people involved in the professional game are playing their part to ensure that rugby is inclusive and respectful of all people.

“We will be initiating a formal employment process to discuss this post with [Sopoaga].”

More: comment, Homophobia, LGBT, Lima Sopoaga, New Zealand, Rugby, sport

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