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Marcus Smith: Expert Neil Francis fired for ‘offensive’ comment on Lions opening half |  Rugby Union News


The Lions and Harlequins have both denounced comments made by Independent.ie columnist Neil Francis about opening half Marcus Smith ahead of his sacking; Lions Statement: “We find the remarks offensive and have written to the Independent to express our deep displeasure”

Last update: 07/23/21 7:10 PM

Irish columnist Neil Francis has commented on Lions and Harlequins opening half Marcus Smith on Independent.ie’s Left Wing podcast

Irish columnist Neil Francis was sacked by Independent.ie following “offensive” comments he made about Lions and Harlequins opener Marcus Smith.

Former Ireland international Francis was speaking on the The left wing of Independent.ie Podcast when he made the comment on Smith that the Lions and Harlequins both called offensive.

The comment has since been removed from the podcast, but the original quotes and audio have both been widely shared on social media.

A spokesperson for Mediahuis Ireland, publisher of Independent.ie, said: “Neil Francis’ remarks were unacceptable and he apologized for it. The comments were originally posted on the podcast last week, but were then deleted by our production team shortly thereafter. must have happened before it was posted and we apologize for the error.

“We recognize that Mr. Francis says his comments were unintentional, but we have decided to end our relationship with him and he will no longer be writing columns or contributing to our podcasts.”

The Lions and Harlequins have both publicly criticized Francis for his comments on Smith.

“We find the remarks offensive and have written to The Independent to express our deep displeasure,” a Lions spokesperson said.

Smith’s club Harlequins added: “Harlequins is disgusted by the offensive comments from an Independent.ie columnist regarding Harlequins opening half Marcus Smith and awaits a response on that.”

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