Rugby player banned for tweets may give up career

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) -- A suspended Samoan player says he's ready to quit rugby if his outspoken comments against the International Rugby Board lead to better treatment for second-tier teams.

Samoan center Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu was suspended by the IRB after failing to appear at a World Cup judicial hearing on Tuesday to discuss critical comments he made on Twitter about the IRB and referee Nigel Owens, who officiated during Samoa's narrow loss to South Africa last week.

Fuimaono-Sapolu said on New Zealand TV he wasn't informed about the whereabouts or time of the hearing. Armed with a law degree, he said he was ready to give up his professional rugby career so "the next generation of Samoan players can be given a level playing field."