George Hook apologises to Johnny Sexton over legal threat

Broadcaster had issued warning over rugby player’s remarks in ‘Irish Times’ article

Appearing on RTÉ's 'The Late Late Show', broadcaster George Hook has apologised to Irish rugby player Johnny Sexton. Video: RTÉ

 

Broadcaster George Hook has apologised to Ireland rugby player Johnny Sexton after threatening to sue him following comments made by Sexton in an article in The Irish Times.

In an interview on RTÉ One’s The Late Late Show on Friday, Mr Hook said he had lashed out and did not stop to think about his reaction to the article, something he now regrets.

“Johnny in an interview said that when I talk about brain damage in rugby I don’t believe what I say and I say it to sell newspapers.

“That strikes [at] the very integrity of what I do,” he told Ryan Tubridy.

“Do I regret what I did? I absolutely regret what I did . . . When you are angry, when you are hurt and when you are offended you should really count up to 10. I didn’t get past one.

“I struck out because I felt it was against everything I hold dear.”

When asked if he wished to apologise to the Ireland outhalf, he said, after initial hesitation: “If I meet him I will apologise to him.

“I’ll apologise to him, to you. I don’t have a problem with that.”

Original article

In the article which appeared on February 27th entitled “Full steam ahead: Johnny Sexton speaks his mind”, Sexton spoke of his frustration with commentary about whether he might have been hiding the fact he was suffering from concussion.

In relation to Hook, the article states: “‘He thinks I should have retired when I was 21,’ says Sexton, laughing. ‘He’s still in the O’Gara camp even though Rog has retired. Look, what can you say to that? I don’t know if he actually believes that. You’ve got to take it with a pinch of salt, and people have to promote themselves, they have to sell papers. People look after themselves at the end of the day.’”

Mr Hook’s threatened legal action had also extended to The Irish Times as the publisher of the article.

He defended the stance he has taken on the dangers posed by brain injury and concussion in rugby during the RTÉ interview.

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