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The NRL is investigating Issac Luke over a homophobic slur the South Sydney star made on social media.
The fallout from the Rabbitohs’ controversial win over Canterbury on Friday night continues after the club confirmed Luke was responsible for the comment posted on his official Instagram account on Saturday
In response to taunts, Luke wrote: “get off my page you lil poofters. This is about a kid your fans knocked out. Well now two kids Yous dropped. We train at Redfern come down and see if you fellas are still carrying on #rulesarerules even though it was a hard penalty to take. I bet yous would’ve done the same had we done it to one of your players. Or we would’ve have even had u gooses commenting had it happened earlier on in the game. Now get off my page.”
The post was quickly deleted.
After being alerted to the incident, the NRL issued a statement and is likely to forward the matter to its integrity unit.
“Rugby League is a game for everyone regardless of race, colour, religion, ability or sexuality,” an NRL spokesperson said.
“As an inclusive game, we do not tolerate discrimination in any form. This is an important matter, and it is certainly one which we will take up with Souths.”
Luke’s good intentions backfired after he had reached out to find a South Sydney fan injured after Friday’s clash. The 27-year-old, who was involved in a contentious eight-point try in the grand final rematch, had called on South Sydney fans to help him identify the Rabbitohs fan who was taken to hospital after the game.
Luke contacted the Rabbitohs with a desire to donate a jersey and drop some Easter eggs to the boy. He still intends to do so.
His original post read: “Just reaching out to the SSTID FANS on the whereabouts of the young SOUTHS fan who ended up in hospital last night. We have something for him, Should he see this or anyone that knows him please DM me and will try to get in contact with him. I’m gonna make sure his Easter is as happy as our South Sydney families is. Let me know please.”
Later on Saturday night, Luke posted an apology on his Instagram account.
“Thanks to everyone who helped me find the young fella,” Luke wrote.
“I managed to get a hold of two young fellas that happened to have been affected. Also I just wanna apologise for what I said to fans. I was very worried and my emotion got the better of me I didn’t mean to offend anyone. Just tip me up if I’m being silly peeps. Thanks to those who did. #respect everyone. Love yous all.”
It’s not the first time Luke has become embroiled in controversy over his social media posting. The New Zealand hooker was forced to back down from his intention to pay tribute to South Sydney teammate Kirisome Auva’a by writing his name on his wrist in the Four Nations final against Australia.
“Thinking about you my boy @somauvaa keep your head up high. Love from me and my family bol. #onelove somi/ Will write you on my wrist tomorrow night. Love u us.” Luke wrote on the social media platform.
Auva’a, who pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injury to his former girlfriend last year, was suspended for a minimum of nine months. He sought a reduction from the NRL but was denied and won’t be able to re-apply to have his suspension lifted until July 27.
Luke’s post caused a firestorm on social media and he later posted he would not write Avis name on his wrist.
“I’m against [domestic violence] as much as yous are but I’m not supporting what he done,” one Tweet from Luke read at the time. “I can only help him try get better from it.”
Luke said in another: “Not supporting what he’s done actually wanna kick his a*** and can only feel for the madam who was on the other end.
“Pretty sure everyone that has done something wrong. Their families and friends stuck by him/her. Which is what I’m doing.”
On Saturday night, the Rabbitohs issued a statement, saying they were disappointed by Luke’s “inappropriate use of language”.
“Issac had reached out via social media in an attempt to contact an injured South Sydney supporter who was taken to hospital last night after being assaulted. Issac had offered to give his game day jersey to the injured supporter
“As part of his enquiries on social media today some offensive comments were directed at Issac by persons unknown to him.
“He reacted inappropriately to those comments.
“Issac understands his responsibilities as a public person and has made a commitment not to react in this manner again to offensive comments on social media”, the release added.
The Luke incident comes just weeks after Waratahs forward Jacques Potgieter was fined $10,000 by the Australian Rugby Union for making homophobic slurs during a match against the Brumbies. admitted to using the term “f****t” against his opponents and apologised unreservedly.
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