New Zealand rugby team the Canterbury Crusaders have denied players were involved in an alleged homophobic incident at a restaurant in South Africa last weekend.
South African local Alexandros Paterimos made the allegations on Instagram on Sunday. He alleged the players “physically intimidated” and mocked them with “homophobic slurs limp wrist gestures and adopted high pitched voices”.
“As we entered, we were met with jeering and sniggers from them,” he wrote.
“They then proceeded to record us as a joke… When catching them in the act, they told us they did it because we looked funny to them.
“They said they can record us in a public space if they want to. Upon telling them that this is wrong they then began physically intimidating us.”
The Crusaders said in a statement they had been made aware of allegations of an incident in Cape Town, South Africa involving the players.
“The three players, team management and the South African-based security advisor with them, strongly refute [the social media account] of what happened,” the team said.
“They are devastated by the allegation and the implication of homophobic behaviour.”
Crusaders team denies the allegations
Canterbury Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge said the players were “distraught” at the allegations.
The team had launched an independent investigation into the incident, he said.
Coach Scott Robertson told the New Zealand Herald only All Black player George Bridge was involved but he had denied anything “untoward” happened.
“The boys really refute all the allegations… [George] is really upset around everything that’s come out,” he said.
“He’s extremely, authentically genuine that there was nothing ever said, there were no homophobic words or gestures.
“George said, ‘Mate I just want to have a photo with you’… there was no interaction with anyone else. That’s where the misinterpretation came. A selfie gone wrong really.
“He just can’t understand how it’s got to this platform.
“We understand what’s happened across the ditch [with Israel Folau] and it’s in the forefront of our mind. We’ve talked about it as a group.”
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