The NRL has apologised to Parramatta Eels forward Junior Paulo after the league’s social media accounts shared an “inappropriate” post on Friday evening.
The Eels secured a 24-16 win over the Brisbane Broncos in their season opener at Suncorp Stadium, with Paulo scoring a match-sealing try in the 78th minute.
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Following the victory, the NRL’s official Twitter and Instagram account posted am image of Paulo’s late try with the caption “JUNIOR”, alongside a gorilla emoji.
The tweet was deleted 30 minutes later, while the Instagram post’s caption was later edited, with a steaming face replacing the emoji.
A screenshot of the "inappropriate" social media post.Source:Twitter
The Eels contacted the NRL to voice their concerns about the post’s racial connotations linked to the Samoa international.
Speaking to AAP, NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said the league’s social media team had made a “very bad error of judgement”.
“The emoji was clearly inappropriate and it should never have been posted,” Abdo said.
“I have personally apologised to Junior and the club, and we are reviewing our social media processes to ensure there are stronger checks and balances in place before an item is posted.
“We will also engage in further education programs with the team responsible for our social media accounts.”
Junior Paulo of the Eels celebrates his try.Source:Getty Images
Paulo seemingly did not take offence to the caption — he replied to the post with the same gorilla emoji the following morning, a comment which has since been deleted.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, NRL players Latrell Mitchell, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Sia Soliola and Michael Jennings all liked the original post with the gorilla caption.
An Eels spokesman said: “As soon as the club was made aware of the post, we contacted the NRL to ensure it was removed promptly.
“The club is comfortable with the NRL’s response to the issue and we consider the matter to be resolved.”
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