WAIKATO CHIEFS SECOND row Michael Allardice has apologised for the offence caused by homophobic comments made during an end-of-season team party yesterday.
Allardice and his team-mates were at Okoroire hot pools, south-east of Hamilton, when Waikato man Brendan Baraclough heard him him shout ‘here come the gays’ and other comments.
“There’s enough problems with young fellas coming out as gay. What if it was the wrong one and that guy went and harmed himself because a leader of Waikato said (that). It’s not on,” Barraclough told One News.
This morning, 24-year-old Allardice and the Chiefs issued a statement by way of apology and explained that he was directing his comments at a team-mate.
“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.
“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 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 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.
“I have also apologised to the Chiefs, as my behaviour yesterday does not reflect the values of our team and organisation.”
Speaking to Stuff.co.nz, Barraclough said he was pleased the apology had been made:
“(The Chiefs) were very good. They were on to it, they contacted me very fast and I am quite happy with it. It’s still on going because they don’t know what they’re going to do about it yet. But the fact that he’s apologised about it is awesome.”
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