Australian wrestler Buddy Murphy has apologised after an insensitive image posted on social media to celebrate his release was criticised and compared by fans to being freed from slavery.
On Wednesday, Murphy went online to celebrate the expiration of his 90-day WWE non-compete clause, which means the former WWE Cruiserweight champion can now compete for other promotions.
Now known as Buddy Matthews, the 32-year-old originally posted an image of a pair of hands appearing to break the chains and be liberated along with the caption: “It’s here! #FreeAgent”.
Murphy was quickly on the receiving end of a wave of criticism from his own fans and followers, who interpreted the tweet as likening his WWE career with slavery.
The photo Murphy uploaded was also discovered to be just the second picture listed on a Google image search for ‘freedom’.
The Australian swiftly deleted the tweet and apologised to his fans for any offence caused.
“My apologies for the tweet I posted earlier today if it offended you,” Murphy wrote on Twitter. “It wasn’t my intention AT ALL! And FAR from what I intended it to mean! deleted the tweet. Once again. My apologies!”
Murphy then made a second attempt at a social media post to mark his release from WWE, uploading an image of two birds flying free from a cage amidst a sunset background.
It is no wonder that Murphy posted such photos to celebrate his release as he has previously labelled his non-compete clause as restrictive.
Last month, he took to social media to post a short video of himself wearing what appeared to resemble a white prison jumpsuit.
The former Raw Tag Team champion was one of several ex-WWE stars that got released from their contracts with the company, with the likes of Aleister Black, Ruby Riott and Braun Strowman all leaving on June 2.
There are rumours concerning Murphy’s landing spot, with fans split between Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling Dynamite and Major League Wrestling.
However, he has already found work before he permanently joins a promotion – Murphy will fight Brian Cage at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia for Battle of Championship Wrestling on September 18.
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