Rugby: Chiefs player Michael Allardice apologises for homophobic slur

Michael Allardice's conduct received a complaint from Brendan Barraclough, who complained about being the victim of what he described as a "revolting" slur on Sunday night. Photo / Paul Taylor
Michael Allardice's conduct received a complaint from Brendan Barraclough, who complained about being the victim of what he described as a "revolting" slur on Sunday night. Photo / Paul Taylor

Chiefs player Michael Allardice has apologised for making a homophobic comment at the Okoroire Hot Springs near Tirau on Sunday night.

Allardice's conduct received a complaint from Brendan Barraclough, who complained about being the victim of what he described as a "revolting" slur on Sunday night.

The previous night the Chiefs lost their Super Rugby semifinal against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Barraclough told Newshub that when he went to leave, one of the players yelled at him "here come the gays, here come the gays" along with other "revolting" slurs.

"How they think this is okay in this day and age is beyond me," he said.

Allardice this afternoon came forward to take responsibility for the comments, writing a statement apologising for his conduct.

"Yesterday while enjoying post season team bonding at a pub and local swimming pool I made a rude comment directed at my teammate. It was said in jest at a team mate and I did not intend to offend anyone," said Allardice.

"When I learned of Brendan's Facebook post and comments to media, I realised he was referring to the comments I had directed at my team mate. I was not aware he was there, or that he had mistaken these comments as being directed at him. They were not."

Barraclough said the comments didn't hurt him, but he was upset about the effects they could have had on others.

"I brushed it off which is awful to say but you do, you just brush it off. The reason I put it on Facebook is because what if it was some younger guy who... isn't as secure in themselves as I am."

"And because it was the Chiefs. They are put on this platform in the community, people look up to them, so you can't have that kind of crap going on."

Allardice has expressed his regret at the impact his conduct had.

"I am deeply embarrassed and ashamed of the hurt I've caused Brendan and the wider LGBT community and anyone else who I have offended by my comments. I casually used very poor language and have learned a very big lesson today."

"I have today contacted Brendan and apologised for the offence caused by my inappropriate comments, regardless of who they were directed at. I have expressed to Brendan that I have taken full responsibility for my actions, but I have also assured him that there was no malicious intent in my comments - I wasn't yelling at a stranger to inflict hurt."

"I have chosen to come forward because I believe in being accountable and taking responsibility for your actions, and also because I hope this can be a learning experience for others that homophobic language, even in jest, has wide-reaching and hurtful effects."

Allardice also apologised to the Chiefs for his actions.

Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman told Newshub: "It's something we can't now turn back the clock on, it's a regrettable incident but as an organisation we are committed as best we can to make it good."

Mr Barraclough says he spoke to several of the other members of the Chiefs that evening and says they were friendly and respectful.

- NZ Herald

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