Murray Deaker says sorry for 'nigger' comment

BELINDA MCCAMMON
Last updated 16:09 04/06/2011
Murray Deaker
The Dominion Post
Murray Deaker

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Sports broadcaster Murray Deaker has issued a brief apology after describing someone on his Sky TV show as "working like a nigger".

Deaker, who is understood to be overseas, issued the statement today, saying "it was a bad choice of words and I apologise unreservedly''.

Deaker, who has hosted several controversial moments on his talk show, was describing a person who ran a sheep farm on Wednesday night.

He slipped in the controversial phrase without missing a beat and it has since been doing the rounds on social media sites.

Sky Television spokesman Tony O'Brien today said he accepted Deaker's apology.

"I'm very happy with the apology he made, I'm sure that will put an end to the matter.''

Yesterday O'Brien said he was not defending Deaker but that it was a "phrase that's widely used''.

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said the phrase was "not appropriate".

"Some of these phrases have a long history… and it appears Murray Deaker is from that generation. It's not acceptable to describe someone as working like a nigger.''

Fellow broadcaster Willie Lose - a Sky TV rugby commentator, ZB sports host and former Tongan rugby international- defended his colleague.

He said he had been in the presence of Deaker previously when he had made comments that some might deem racially insensitive.

But he said it was simply Deaker's sense of humour, saying he wasn't racist.

"He says those words … he is only joking. But I wouldn't have thought he would say them on a programme on TV," Lose said.

"I would say Murray is not a racist. He is not like that. He enjoys a joke and has a lot of Polynesian friends.

"Part of the problem is that we say it. When I first got into broadcasting, and was learning the ropes, he became my mentor. I am blown away."

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