The NSW Police Force has apologised for a joke it made on Facebook during this year’s State of Origin series.
The force shared a photo of referee Matt Cecchin wearing a Queensland jersey during the interstate series, indicating he was biased towards the Maroons.
They wrote under the photo: “NSW Police uncover QLD’s plan to replace Johnathan Thurston in game three.”
The photo has now been removed from the page.
“The NSWPF wishes to make clear it did not intend to make any serious assertion that Mr Cecchin was biased as a referee and only intended for the meme to be a lighthearted joke,” they said on Monday.
“However, the NSWPF acknowledges that, in posting the meme, Mr Cecchin has suffered hurt and damage to his reputation. The NSWPF wishes to make clear it does not think Mr Cecchin is biased as a referee and withdraws any such suggestion unreservedly.
“The NSWPF apologises to Mr Cecchin for any hurt or damage caused.”
The apology comes two months the series final. It is not know what prompted the apology or if Cecchin filed an official complaint.
Comments quickly flooded in on the post with people split over whether the apology was necessary.
“Seems Mr Cecchin needs a thicker skin, never mind a different jersey,” wrote Lauren Finn.
“When the memes go too far… Be careful!” wrote Caitlyn Bowditch.