Crusaders deny homophobic abuse allegations in Cape Town

Crusaders management have denied that their players were involved in a homophobic altercation in Cape town on Saturday night.

Accusations spread on social media on Monday morning that a group of Crusaders players were involved in an altercation in a Cape Town fast food restaurant after their 19-19 draw with the Stormers at Newlands.

Instagram user @alxethelion posted a series of videos to his story, detailing his version of events while Twitter user @adamlennox posted a note on his account about the incident.

The allegations began to spread on social media with a host of users commenting on the Crusaders Instagram account calling them out for the alleged incident and criticising the organisation.

“We were attacked by members of the New Zealand rugby team in the McDonald’s on Long/Kloof St last night,” the South African Twitter user wrote.

“As we entered, we were met with jeering and sniggers from them.

“They then proceeded to record us as a joke (also, upon looking on his phone screen, it was a recording for either Insta/Snapchat). When catching them in the act, they told us they did it because we looked funny to them.

“They then said they can record us in a public space if they want to. Upon telling them that this is wrong, they then began physically intimidating us (coming up to our faces, telling us we better stop arguing or they will ‘f**k us up if we don’t watch it’).

“Then, after arguing that straight white men are losing power – we were met with homophobic slurs, limp wrists and high-pitched voices, which were clearly in gest [sic].”

As well as the note, the user posted a four-second video featuring a man, who was not readily identifiable as a member of the Crusaders setup.

The defending Super Rugby champions released a statement on Monday afternoon, saying they would meet with the team when they returned to Christchurch but strongly denied the accusations.

“The BNZ Crusaders have been made aware of allegations of an incident in Cape Town involving some of our players,” the statement read.

“Allegations have been made via social media that there was a verbal altercation between members of the public and some Crusaders players who were out getting food after the match against the Stormers in Cape Town. The original post claimed players exhibited homophobic behaviour.

“The three players, team management and the South African-based security adviser with them strongly refute the socialised account of what happened. They are devastated by the allegation and the implication of the homophobic behaviour.”

Crusaders CEO Colin Mainsbridge said he was confident that the team’s version of events was accurate.

“This is an organisation that is committed to inclusivity and is proud to have earned the Rainbow Tick certification. That is what makes these allegations particularly distressing,” he said.

“Given the serious nature of these allegations I will be meeting with team management and players on their return to Christchurch. However, I am confident in the account that we have received from the team and the security adviser who was present.”