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Australian wrestler Buddy Murphy has been forced to apologise over a social media post that contained a reference to slavery that many users found offensive.
The 32-year-old took to social media to celebrate his move into free agency after a 90-day non-compete deal with the WWE expired.
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Murphy has previously commented about feeling trapped by his WWE contract, with the former Raw Tag Team champion last month posting a video of himself in a white prison jumpsuit.
Following his recent split with the WWE, Murphy decided to have another shot at the organisation by posting an image of a pair of hands breaking free of a set of shackles.
Murphy captioned the post with the words: “It’s here! #FreeAgent”.
Many social media users slammed the wrestler for his use of an image that is deeply associated with slavery in America.
Buddy Murphy deletes post after backlash
Following the backlash, Murphy decided to respond by deleting the offensive post.
He then followed it up with another post to offer his apologies for anyone that he might have offended.
“My apologies for the tweet I posted earlier today if it offended you,” he wrote.
“It wasn’t my intention AT ALL! And FAR from what I intended it to mean! deleted the tweet. Once again. My apologies!”
He also posted a new image showing birds flying off after being freed from a cage, accompanied by "#freeagent".
Now that Murphy's non-compete deal with the WWE has expired, he's free to explore other opportunities in wrestling.
Among the possibilities for the Aussie are deals with Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling Dynamite or Major League Wrestling.
Murphy is among a host of wrestlers to be released from their WWE contracts on June 2, including Lana, Aleister Black, Ruby Riott and Braun Strowman.
His first post-WWE fight will see Murphy take on Brian Cage at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia for Battle of Championship Wrestling later this month.
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