Marcus Smith: Pundit Neil Francis sacked over 'offensive' comment about Lions fly-half
Lions and Harlequins both called out comments made by Independent.ie columnist Neil Francis over fly-half Marcus Smith before his sacking; Lions statement: "We find the remarks offensive and have written to the Independent to express our deep dissatisfaction"
Last Updated: 24/07/21 7:26am
Irish columnist Neil Francis has been sacked by Independent.ie following "offensive" comments he made about Lions and Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith.
Former Ireland international Francis was speaking on the Independent.ie's Left Wing podcast when he made the comment about Smith which the Lions and Harlequins both described as offensive.
The comment has since been edited out of the podcast but the original quotes and audio have both been widely circulated on social media.
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A spokesperson for Mediahuis Ireland, publisher of Independent.ie, said: "Neil Francis's remarks were unacceptable and he has apologised for them. The comments were initially released in the podcast last week but were subsequently removed by our production team a short time later. This should have happened before it was released and we apologise for the error.
"We acknowledge that Mr Francis says his comments were inadvertent but we have decided to end our relationship with him and he will no longer write columns or contribute to our podcasts."
"We find the remarks offensive and have written to the Independent to express our deep dissatisfaction," said a Lions spokesperson."
Smith's club Harlequins added: "Harlequins is disgusted by offensive comments made by an Independent.ie columnist regarding Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith and await a reply regarding the matter."