31 Jul 2015

Australian rugby player retracts 'coconut' comment

4:07 pm on 31 July 2015

The former Australia rugby league star Billy Moore has apologised for saying the Warriors play a "coconut style".

Moore made the racist comment during a panel discussion live on Australian television on Thursday night, prompting the Warriors to hit back at the former Kangaroos and Queensland player.

Warriors managing director Jim Doyle expressed the Auckland club's concern over the remarks on the Fox Sports-produced NRL 360 TV programme.

Captain Simon Mannering (L) leads the Warriors out onto Mt Smart Stadium on ANZAC Day against the Gold Coast  Titans, on Saturday 25 April 2015

Captain Simon Mannering (L) leads the Warriors out onto Mt Smart Stadium Photo: Photosport

Moore's comment was made during a panel discussion about the Warriors' prospects without the injured Shaun Johnson.

At one point Moore said: "I don't see them (the Warriors) losing the ability to still score points. They get points because they play that coconut style, Polynesian sort of football... throwing it around".

Warriors boss Jim Doyle (L) with coach Andrew McFadden

Warriors boss Jim Doyle (L) with coach Andrew McFadden Photo: Photosport

Doyle said the comment was unnecessary.

"We're disappointed Billy used that description when he was talking about our team," he said.

"We're proud of our Polynesian heritage and what Polynesian players and people have done for our club and what they mean to us."

Doyle said it was especially disappointing the comments were made at a time when race issues were in the headlines, particularly with the case surrounding AFL player Adam Goodes, and the fact the NRL has its Indigenous Round next week.

Adam Goodes

Adam Goodes Photo: Photosport

Moore apologised on Friday, saying he never intended to upset anyone.

"I would like to sincerely apologise to anyone that was offended by my comment regarding the New Zealand Warriors playing style, particularly the Polynesian community - many of whom I played with and am great mates with," he said.

"It was an extremely poor selection of words in my attempt to describe the free-flowing playing style of the Warriors which I deeply regret.

"I understand how my comment may have been interpreted, but I would like to stress that it was never my intent to upset or disrespect anyone.

"Again, I offer my unreserved apology to those who took offence (sic) to my comment."

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