The Justin Campaign was very interested to hear the news that Southern Football League Premier Division club Oxford City has sacked striker Lee Steele over homophobic remarks he posted on Twitter recently.
The remarks, made in relation to the openly-gay Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas’ appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, read: “I wouldn’t fancy the bed next to Gareth Thomas #padlock my a**e”.
While it is never pleasing to see someone lose a position in a club or company, we fully applaud the club’s decision to terminate the player’s contract.
For far too long homophobic comments like the ones Steele made have been defended using the erroneous argument that such remarks as simply harmless “banter”. However, we no longer accept racist “banter”, and likewise, we must never accept homophobic “banter”. These kind of comments, in which being gay or bisexual is used as joke, have immense power in dissuading members of the LGBT community from either playing or watching football.
Oxford City’s brave decision shows us that things are, slowly, moving in the right direction and that football is starting to take homophobia, biphobia and transphobia seriously.
Here is the club’s statement in full.
“The Oxford City board have decided to release Lee Steele in view of his recent comment via social media which is considered seriously contrary to the ethos of the club.”