UK & World News

  • 11 July 2014, 13:22

Ulster Rugby 'Sorry' Over Players Blacking Up

Ulster Rugby have apologised after a photograph of two players covered in black make-up appeared on Twitter.

The picture shows Irish internationals Chris Henry and Paddy Jackson alongside three unidentified men.

Posted by Jackson, it apparently shows him with a chain around his neck.

"Ulster Rugby would like to apologise unreservedly for any offence caused by a photograph posted on Twitter of some players at an Olympic-themed fancy dress party held two years ago," said a statement.

"It was not the intention of the players to cause upset and the photograph has since been removed."

For a time the image was Jackson's profile picture.

It is unclear how long it, or a similar shot posted by Chris Henry on May 16, was online.

It is thought the group were dressed as the Ethiopian Olympic team.

Joseph Ricketts, from ACSONI (African and Caribbean Support Organisation Northern Ireland), told Good Morning Ulster the photo was "deeply offensive".

"I am shocked and appalled by this irresponsible behaviour," he said.

"It's worse than bad taste. One of the characters was seen with a chain around the neck, which mimics the most awful period in history for black people.

"It's nasty and people who have seen it are very appalled by it."

He added: "Whether they were trying to justify it as good craic, or something, people are offended by it and as public figures, which they are, they need to be more responsible in the way they behave."

Jackson and Henry were part of Ireland's victorious Six Nations side earlier this year.

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