A very apologetic English rugby player is accepting full responsibility and punishment for offensive homophobic remarks he made during a Rugby Football League event in Warrington last week.
After an investigation into the claim that 22-year-old Leeds full-back Zak Hardaker called a referee a “fucking fag” during the televised event, the RFL issued a full five-game suspension for Hardaker. His comments, which were originally spotted by fans on the live telecast, also cost him a £300 (~$500) fine.
Before the RFL investigated the claims, Hardaker issued an apology. “First and foremost, I’d like to apologise for any offence my comments during that game have caused,” he said. “I would especially like to apologise to Michael Monaghan.” At the time, he also admitted that the slur was directed at the opposing team’s captain Michael Monaghan, not referee James Child, as was originally reported.
In the heat of the game, I have used an offensive term and I can honestly say I was deeply saddened when I found out after the game how my comment had been perceived.
During the investigation, I was made aware that the referee on the night, James Child, also heard my comment and was offended by it. I would like to unreservedly apologise to him for that and I can assure him that no offence was intended toward him.
As professional players, we know that we have an obligation to conduct ourselves in the right manner for the good of the game at all times. That includes with our team-mates, opponents, officials and, of course, supporters at the ground and those watching at home on television. My comments fell below those standards.
After hearing of the suspension that will sideline him until mid-July, Hardaker tweeted the following:
Thankyou everyone for ur support, 5 games it is. You live and learn and that's life, so I'll just make sure I come out better for it #LIFE
— Zak Hardaker (@zakhardaker1) June 10, 2014
Leeds head coach Brian McDermott has praised Hardaker’s handling of the situation, issuing the following statement:
Leeds have said they will stand by their player, with head coach Brian McDermott saying: ‘We welcome the fact that Zak has recognised his mistake and we will work with him to make sure that this type of incident does not happen again in the future.
‘As a club and a game, we have always prided ourselves on how inclusive and welcoming our sport is and this incident, and the reaction to it, shows how seriously we all take this matter.
‘We were pleased that the panel made a particular point of saying that they did not believe that Zak had meant his comment as a homophobic remark and that they considered that Zak was not homophobic.
‘The club has worked hard to raise the issue of anti-homophobia in the past and we remain committed to working against all forms of discrimination.’
In other news, Zak Hardaker just became the walking definition of “spornosexual.”
Call me a whore if you must, but I can’t be mad at that adorable face. And he plays rugby? Yea, SO not mad at this guy.
Just like the “N” word, I am now desensitized. It is what it is chile.
He is cute tho.
Those ridiculous hideous tattoos on his arms are punishment enough. LOL
Some guys have anger management issues where their instincts go for anti gay slurs in moments of stress, fruastration, or fear.
Hardaker either is genuinely sorry or he has good PR handlers who come up with gooo damage control press releases / twitter feeds.
Too homoerotic to be so homophobic!
Maybe he was talking about a cigarette. Otherwise he might have said “fucking poofter.”
Is that Conchita Wurst on his arm?
@Ottoman: Hahahaah how funny, man he is just another bloody English, ass hole.
As much as I hate the word/moral/thought police (as much as I hate jagwads who use slurs to demean people) He works for a private organization with a morals clause. Ya gotta follow the people who pay your check and what they see as appropriate or ya get fined…That’s big biz and that’s a Republican ideal!
I’d have been more impressed if he refused to apologize but instead said: “I’ve got no problem with poofs — I meant ‘fag’ in the sense of ‘obnoxious Harley-riding poseur’, just like on South Park.”
And, by the way, I agree that big ugly tats can make even a handsome rugby player less attractive…
@Throbert McGee: and that would be more impressive to you why?
He’s a handsome hotman, so everyone has to bitch & whine about the tattoos, again! Probably, an equal number of us like them.
I think he’s the second guy on the left, wearing only skimpy blue underwear:
Ok. I’ll call you whore. Whore.
Ergh! The word ‘fag’ never used to come up over here until about a year ago everyone at school starting using the words ‘fag’ and ‘faggy’ I thought it was just an American term. Glad he was suspended but was that tweet even a apology?
Free speech takes another hit.
@FStratford and @stranded – you two flatter me too much.
@James Hart: Why the hell don’t people understand that free speech protects from the Government penalizing you in AMERICA! Plus, he signed a contract and in that contract he is banned from using derogatory language while in the employ of a PRIVATE COMPANY. He has to follow their rules. This is not about free speech. This is a very Republican/conservative idea…Corps owning and restricting who they own…ooopppsss…I mean employ.
A lot of people under 35 just think of those words slang. Nixxa i like saying dude to a lot of young people. People under 35 worry more about the latest gadget than worry about some crap. People have to be reminded that these are bad words,
“[email protected]” in the homophobic sense is purely an Americanism — while Hardaker is British. If a Brit is going to imitate American usage, better that he should take inspiration from a cool, funny show like South Park than kowtow to the dainty-princess sensibilities of politically correct Yanks.
To put it another way, if you argue that “No one in the entire English-speaking world should say fag in the sense of ‘non-manly guy’, because it’s homophobic”, you’re merely supporting U.S. cultural imperialist hegemony — why would I admire a British guy for going along with that?
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