LEEDS RHINOS’ Zak Hardaker has apologised for a homophobic comment he made in last week’s game at Warrington Wolves – and claimed it was directed at opponent Michael Monaghan.
It was widely believed the slur, seen on Sky Sports cameras, was aimed at referee James Child. But England full-back Hardaker, who is under investigation by the Rugby Football League but will play in tonight’s home Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-final with Leigh Centurions, insisted that was not the case.
“In the heat of the game, I’ve used an offensive term and can honestly say I was deeply saddened when I found out how my comment had been perceived,” said the 22 year-old.
“As professional players 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, and my comments fell below those standards.
“I’d especially like to apologise to Michael Monaghan, who my comments were aimed at.
“During the investigation, I was made aware referee James Child also heard my comment and was offended. I’d like to unreservedly apologise to him and can assure him no offence was intended toward him.
“I have complied fully with the RFL’s investigation, never looked to deny what I said and will accept their judgment.”
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