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NZ Rugby have apologized for a social media post sent by the All Blacks on International Women’s Day after they were criticized for including two players with problematic pasts.
The All Blacks Tweet was sent to celebrate IWD but included images of Sevu Reece and Aaron Smith, two stars with controversial pasts in their relationships with women.
Fans condemned the use of the pair. Reece admitted assaulting his partner while drunk on the street in 2018 – he was later released without a conviction when a judge ruled there were mitigating factors in the case.
Smith was kicked out of the All Blacks camp in 2016 after he was caught having sex in a Christchurch airport toilet.
He got married last year.
“’Sevu Reece beat up his girlfriend in the street, let’s use it on our International Women’s Day message. Oh, and make sure you don’t mention the black ferns at all’ – the All Blacks social media team this morning. wrote an All Blacks fan,” a fan wrote in response to the tweet.
“NZR and our Teams in Black celebrated International Women’s Day across all of our digital channels and our intention was to portray the many roles that women play in our game,” an NZR spokesperson said in a statement to the NZ Herald.
“We didn’t do it right and we apologize for that – all of our rugby whānau are so proud of our Black Ferns and all our wāhine, in everything they do on and off the pitch.”