- Aaron Smith faces misconduct charge
- Returning home from South Africa
(CNN)A New Zealand rugby star has apologized for his "unacceptable" rendezvous in an airport toilet, which led the country's prime minister to comment that the player "embarrassed himself."
Aaron Smith was handed a one-game suspension and faces a misconduct hearing after members of the public spotted him following a woman into a disabled toilet last month, while he and his All Blacks teammates were waiting at Christchurch airport.
"I've made a huge mistake, a huge error in judgment," the 27-year-old told reporters at the team's hotel in South Africa Thursday.
"I'd firstly like to say a huge sorry to my partner Teagan, her family, my family. I'm also sorry to my teammates, NZRU and the New Zealand fans.
"My behavior was unacceptable. I'm just trying to get home to deal with this. Thank you."
In a country where rugby is the national sport, players are seen as role models -- but this incident is just the latest in which the game has made headlines for the wrong reasons.
It took place on September 18, the day after New Zealand beat South Africa 41-13 in Christchurch. Smith, wearing official team uniform, was seen following the wom