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Crusaders deny 'homophobic behaviour' allegations

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Crusaders deny allegations of 'homophobic behaviour'

The Crusaders have denied allegations that three of their players displayed ‘homophobic behaviour’ during an altercation in South Africa over the weekend.

The allegations made on social media suggest that some Crusaders players were “physically intimidating”, making homophobic slurs, limp wrist gestures and adopting high pitch voices during an altercation at a McDonald’s on Long St in Cape Town following their 19-all draw with the Stormers.

In a statement released on Monday, the Crusaders said that they “have been made aware of allegations of an incident in Cape Town involving some of our players.

“Allegations have been made via social media that there was a verbal altercation between members of the public and some Crusaders players who were out getting food after the match against the Stormers in Cape Town. The original post claimed players exhibited homophobic behaviour.

The three players, team management and the South African-based security advisor with them, strongly refute the socialised account of what happened. They are devastated by the allegation and the implication of homophobic behaviour.

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said: “This is an organisation that is committed to inclusivity and is proud to have earned the Rainbow Tick certification. That is what makes these allegations particularly distressing.

“Given the serious nature of these allegations I will be meeting with the team management and players on their return to Christchurch, however I am confident in the account that we have received from the team and the security advisor who was present.”

The allegations arose after a South African social media user posted a message that “a friend of mine and his friends” were “attacked” by members of the Crusaders at the McDonald’s outlet.

“As we entered, we were met by jeers and sniggers from them,” one of the complainants alleged in a separate post.

“They then proceeded to record us as a joke.

“When catching them in the act, they told us they did because we looked funny to them.”

The complainants alleged some players “began physically intimidating us – coming up to our faces telling us we better stop arguing or they will “f**k us up if we didn’t watch it”.

“Then, after arguing that straight white men are losing power, we were met with homophobic slurs, limp wrists and high pitched voices which were clearly in gest [sic].”

The social media user began filming the Crusaders party, capturing footage of an individual – believed to be a South African-based security advisor associated with the side – who intervened with the complainant’s video.

The social media user said the man “grabbed my phone and proceeded to grab me”.

Following on from that, “bouncers came and told me to leave the man alone and respect our elders”.

The Crusaders are expected to arrive back from South Africa on Monday night.

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Crusaders deny allegations of 'homophobic behaviour'