Ireland international centre Bundee Aki has apologised after he “mistakenly liked” an anti-gay social media post by controversial Australian player Israel Folau.
Folau has requested a code of conduct hearing – it will take place on May 4 – after he was issued with a breach notice by Rugby Australia over his homophobic social media posts.
The union’s integrity unit ruled Folau had committed a “high-level breach of the Professional Players’ Code of Conduct”, warranting the termination of his employment contract, and he was given 48 hours to accept the breach of contract or refer it to a hearing.
The 30-year-old devout Christian said on his Instagram account that “hell awaits” for “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators”.
Vunipola was booed throughout last Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against Munster and he was also confronted by a fan during Saracens’ lap of honour at the Ricoh Arena following their 32-16 victory.
Connacht player Aki, who has won 17 caps for Ireland, apologised on his Twitter account. “I just want to address that I mistakenly liked Israel Folau’s post without paying any attention to the content,” Aki tweeted.
“When I realised what the post was about I immediately unliked it straight away, as it does not reflect my views as a Christian.
“Yes I do believe in God, but my belief is that he is a God of kindness, peace and loves people in all aspects.
“I have family members, friends, and I have worked with many people who are gay and I have nothing but love and respect for everyone of them.
“I do want to apologise for any confusion or offence this may have\ caused anyone, and I will pay more attention to what I ‘like’ in future.”
– Press Association
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