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Cronulla Sharks recruit Nicho Hynes has moved to clarify his sexuality after a photo of himself and a male friend was misinterpreted by fans online.
Hynes posted a photo on Instagram this week that showed himself and a male friend with his arm around the former Melbourne Storm star.
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The 25-year-old captioned the photo "my guy", sparking a flood of messages of support from fans who seemingly thought they were in a relationship.
Hynes subsequently changed the caption to "best mate" before clarifying his sexuality.
“Hey guys, I want to knock something on the head that has been brought to my attention over the last 24 hours,” Hynes wrote on Thursday.
“I want to start with saying I have nothing against the gay community and I completely support them.
“I posted a photo a few days ago of my best mate and I.
"It has come to my attention that people have made out that the post was my expressing he was my partner. Which is definitely not the case.
“He’s been my best mate for 25 years and he’s happily in a relationship with his girlfriend of around eight years.
“I’d appreciate if you could respect this. I am 100 per cent interested in women.”
Hynes emerged as a superstar in 2021 while playing for Melbourne and will hope to recapture that form when he starts a three-year deal with Cronulla in 2022.
James Faulkner at centre of similar situation
Aussie cricketer James Faulkner experienced a similar situation in 2019 when he posted a photo with a mate and wrote: "Birthday dinner with the boyfriend #togetherfor5years".
Fans interpreted the post to mean that Faulkner was coming out as gay as he celebrated his 29th birthday.
After creating unwanted headlines, the all-rounder edited the caption to include (best mate!!!) and clarified the situation.
“There seems to be a misunderstanding about my post from last night," he said.
"I am not gay, however it has been fantastic to see the support from and for the LBGT community.
“Let’s never forget love is love, however @robjubbsta is just a great friend.
"Last night marked five years of being house mates! Good on everyone for being so supportive.”
Cricket Australia also apologised for any unintended offence the post may have caused.
“Cricket Australia does not consider the social commentary this morning from James Faulkner to be a joke, nor does James,” a statement read.
“James and CA are supportive of the LGBQTI community and recognises coming out can be an incredibly emotional time.
"The post was not in any way meant to make light of this and, though the support from the community was overwhelming and positive.
"Cricket Australia apologises for any unintended offence.”
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