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NZ rugby player tweets gay slur

NZ rugby player tweets gay slur

New Zealand rugby player Israel Dagg who plays on the national squad prompted outcry yesterday by using a gay slur in a tweet.

The All-Black criticized fellow rugby player Brendon O’Connor calling him a ‘fag’.

Following a flurry of tweets calling Dagg out on the word, he deleted the comment and tweeted:

‘Wrong choice of word people don’t let it ruin ya Sunday, keep smiling.’

Former rugby player and current MP Louisa Wall, who sponsored the same-sex marriage bill in New Zealand, said role models like Dagg have a ‘responsibility’ to New Zealand society.

‘They fail to recognize the responsibility they have as leaders in New Zealand society, and the influence they have on a whole generation not only of young people, but they represent all New Zealanders now,’ said Wall to Fairfax NZ.

‘Specifically for leaders such as the All Blacks, because they are so much more powerful and there is a whole generation of young people who look up to them and will embody what they communicate. We want them to be the champion of inclusiveness. They represent all of us, not just some of us.’

A young rugby fan and LGBTI rights activist, who complained about anti-gay chants at an international rugby game in Auckland earlier this month, said Dagg’s comment was ‘disappointing’.

‘These seemingly light-hearted comments can have a real impact on our young people who are already being told they are lesser than because they sit on the periphery,’ said Hannah Spyksma, Gay NZ reports.

‘I would have hoped that people like Israel Dagg would use their influence to role model inclusive behavior on and off the field… I think its a case of someone not actually meaning any harm or insult, yet just making the wrong choice of words.’