A Welsh international rugby player was last night forced to apologise after posting a homophobic comment on the social networking website Twitter…Oh, dear. What did he say?
Will they print it? If it’s really offensive, should they print it?
Lock forward Jonathan Thomas, 27, who has 51 caps for Wales and is set to play in the second row against Scotland in the Six Nations in Cardiff on Saturday, wrote the offensive remarks during an exchange on Twitter yesterday morning with Ian Evans, one of his team-mates at the Welsh club Ospreys.That’s it..? Am I missing something?
Evans wrote: "Legs and ass are in bits, can't move." Thomas posted in reply: "U gotta stop hanging round with Nigel Owens!" [a top Welsh referee who came out in 2007] .
Evans then made an apology of sorts on behalf of Thomas: "For those ppl [people] who got the wrong end of the stick... it was from our savage training day yesterday, sorry about my friend fellow ppl."Why the need to apologise on someone else's behalf?
Even the ‘victim’ can’t see a problem:
"It's probably just tongue-in-cheek, something they said without thinking about it," he said. "If it had been other players that I didn't know so well then maybe I might think, 'Hang on a minute', but with those two there's definitely no issues."So, storm in a teacup, right?
Well, no. Here comes the obligatory apology for daring to think you have an opinion of your own when other people believe your celebrity makes you fair game:
In a statement, Jonathan Thomas said: "Nigel is a great friend of mine and there is absolutely no way I would say anything to him or about him publicly – or indeed privately – which I thought he would find personally offensive. There is no malicious intent in this message whatsoever. This was some childish banter between friends and I did not think for a moment that there may be other people out there reading it and/or taking it in the wrong way.Blimey, how naive is this chap? There are people out there who live to take things the wrong way. It's their whole reason for existing...
"I made a very silly comment to something else that was written, but nevertheless, I would like to apologise to anyone who is or was offended by it. I have spoken to Nigel this afternoon and, as I knew at the time of writing, he is not offended and he remains a very good friend. I have now removed the offending comment and will be much more conscious of distinguishing between private jokes and what can be said in a public forum in future./facepalm
Look, Johnathan, there really isn't a problem here. You exchanged banter with your teammates, and some people had a problem with it. It's none of their business. If your friends didn't have a problem, it's no-one else's place to make a fuss.
Think you can appease people like this? You can't. Ever.
Case in point:
Gay-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: "Homophobic tweets are just as unacceptable as similar outbursts on blogs and message boards. This is not what we would expect from players such as Jonathan Thomas. These remarks are particularly disappointing as they come just weeks after Jonathan's former international team-mate Gareth Thomas came out to such public acclaim and admiration.Unfortunate choice of phrasing there, but then as long as you get publicity for your cause, eh?
"Many of us expected and hoped that this was a turning point and that Welsh rugby could kiss goodbye to homophobia. Sadly, Jonathan's proved us wrong."
I've no enmity towards gay people at all, as far as I'm concerned it's their life to live as they want, just as mine is. But I'm beginning to experience a strong dislike for the hectoring, bullying approach taken by Tatchell and his fellow campaigners, who seem to believe that you can compel acceptance by force.
You can't. All that gets you is public silence covering simmering resentment. Is that what they really want, after all?