Rugby pundit Neil Francis sacked by Irish paper after ‘racist’ comment aimed toward Lions star Marcus Smith | UK Information

Former Eire worldwide rugby participant Neil Francis has been sacked as a pundit by the Irish Impartial after making a seemingly racist remark about Lions star Marcus Smith.

Whereas talking on the newspaper’s The Left Wing rugby podcast, Francis mentioned of Smith, who’s of combined British and Filipino heritage: “A Harlequins out-half with a David Beckham haircut and an Oompa Loompa tan… you simply could not throw him in.”

Francis has since apologised to the Manila-born fly half, insisting his phrases have been “interpreted in a different way” to how he meant them.

Rugby Union - Ireland v New Zealand , World Cup 1995 Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Stuart Franklin Ireland's Neil Francis Drives for the line but New Zealand's Marc Ellis Tries to get in the way
Neil Francis performed for Eire within the 80s and 90s. Pic: Motion Photos/Reuters

Smith’s membership, Premiership champions Harlequins, shortly launched a scathing assertion in response to the previous Eire participant’s feedback, saying: “Harlequins is disgusted by racist feedback made by columnist Neil Francis on the paper’s rugby podcast, The Left Wing, about Harlequins, England and British and Irish Lions fly-half Marcus Smith on July 14.

“The membership firmly believes that there is no such thing as a room for racism in any a part of society, not to mention skilled sport.”

The British and Irish Lions, who will play South Africa within the first tour check on Saturday, additionally made its emotions clear in regards to the remark, whereas former Quins participant and Lions vacationer Ugo Monye mentioned: “The actual fact Neil Francis mentioned what he did is appalling, however to publish it & nobody problem him is as equally appalling.”

On account of his feedback, Mediahuis Eire, which publishes the Irish Impartial, has parted methods with Francis, saying in an article: “Neil Francis’s remarks have been unacceptable and he has apologised for them.

“The feedback have been initially launched within the podcast final week however have been subsequently eliminated by our manufacturing crew a short while later. This could have occurred earlier than it was launched and we apologise for the error.

“We acknowledge that Mr Francis says his feedback have been inadvertent, however we’ve got determined to finish our relationship with him and he’ll not write columns or contribute to our podcasts.”

The British & Irish Lions' huddle during the captains run at the Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa. Picture date: Friday July 23, 2021.
The Lions will play South Africa in Cape City on Saturday

In the identical article, Francis wrote: “I used to be, I suppose, making touch upon how backs specifically end up after they enter the sphere.

“In any respect phases that is what I meant by these feedback.”

He added: “I might by no means deliberately or wilfully make a remark to disparage any individual on the premise of the color of anybody’s pores and skin. By no means! The feedback have been interpreted in a different way from what I meant and I apologise sincerely for that.

“I absolutely apologise for any offence taken by the participant and his household. I intend to apologise on to him shortly if he’s agreeable. I additionally apologise to anybody who additionally took offence to what I mentioned.”

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