Ulster Rugby have apologised after their players Paddy Jackson and Chris Henry posted pictures on social media of themselves with their bodies and faces painted black.
A picture shows Ireland internationals and Six Nations winners Jackson and Henry with three other unidentified men.
Ulster Rugby said they “apologise unreservedly for any offence caused.”
“It was not the intention of the players to cause upset and the photograph has since been removed.”
The province revealed the pic which was taken two years ago showed the players at an Olympic themed fancy dress party.
Fly-half Paddy Jackson made the snap his cover photo on Twitter recently.
Chris Henry put up a similar image on his Twitterpage on the 16th May.
Joseph Ricketts, from ACSONI (African and Caribbean Support Organisation Northern Ireland), said: “I am shocked and appalled by this irresponsible behaviour.
“It’s worse than bad taste. One of the characters was seen with a chain around the neck, which mimics the most awful period in history for black people.
“It’s nasty and people who have seen it are very appalled by it.”
He told Good Morning Ulster : “Whether they were trying to justify it as good craic, or something, people are offended by it and as public figures, which they are, they need to be more responsible in the way they behave.”
One person posted on Twitter: “Paddy Jackson and Chris Henry ‘Ethiopian’ pic is apparently from 2 years ago â back to haunt via social media.”
â Al McConnell (@ali_mcconnell) July 11, 2014
Another said: “That’s a chain around Paddy Jackson’s neck and wrists. Like a slave. They didn’t mean to cause offence, though, so it’s fine!”
Ulster rugby says sorry after Ireland stars Paddy Jackson and Chris Henry post ...