Harlequins & Lions Release Statements Following “Racist” Marcus Smith Comments By Neil Francis

Jason Hennessy

Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor here at RugbyLAD and a proud Limerick man.
Jason Hennessy

No room for it.

The British & Irish Lions and Harlequins have both released strong statements following a comment about the colour of Marcus Smith’s skin made by former Ireland international and current Irish Independent columnist, Neil Francis.

Francis referred to the Lions playmaker, who was born in the Philippines, as having a “David Beckham haircut and an Oompah Loompa tan” during an episode of the Left Wing podcast.

A very special British & Irish Lions House of Rugby show – fronted by Sean O'Brien and Alex Goode – is available now and will run for the duration of the tour. Follow and subscribe to it HERE

The comment was subsequently edited out but not before a clip of it had been widely circulated and criticised on social media.

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

Harlequins, meanwhile, said they were “disgusted” by the remark and said they are awaiting a written reply from the Independent.

“Harlequins is disgusted by racist comments made by Independent.ie columnist Neil Francis on the paper’s rugby podcast, The Left Wing, about Harlequins, England and British and Irish Lions fly-half Marcus Smith on July 14,” a statement read.

“The Club firmly believes that there is no room for racism in any part of society, let alone professional sport.

“Harlequins await a written reply from The Independent.ie regarding this matter.”