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Oxford City dismisses player for Gareth Thomas tweet

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  1. Finally a football club that is not afraid to do something about homophobia. Hopefully the big boys are watching.

    Somehow I doubt it….

  2. mattincinci 11 Jan 2012, 2:27pm

    isnt this a bit old if this was tweeted in 2007?

    1. The date on the link you posted is wrong, how could he have tweeted in 2007 s about something that occurred (Gareth Thomas entering Celebrity
      Big Brother) only last Thursday. In addition Gareth Thomas wasn’t out in 2007.

  3. Oscar Watson 11 Jan 2012, 2:29pm

    His tweet was stupid, offensive and laddish, but I don’t think he deserved to lose his job over it. Surely there must be more to this.

    1. It shows a zero tolerance policy, which is good if you want to eliminate homophobia in sport.

    2. They could have sent him into the Big Brother House and let him repeat it to Gareth Thomas.

    3. Dismissal was definitely the correct decision – it shouldn’t have taken so long! And to those who are concerned about his “livelihood”, he’s a grossly overpaid professional footballer!

  4. Peter S. (formerly 'FengLong') 11 Jan 2012, 2:32pm

    Steele’s comment, while homophobic in itself “doesn’t necessarily mean he’s homophobic”

    I’m not homophobic, the words are the real homophobes here. Blame them, not me~

    I love that inference, haha xD

  5. You really got to take your hat off to Oxford City FC for taking homophobia seriously… how ironic that they are taking the lead and the English FA are 100 years behind them… The English FA should be ashamed of themselves for being so slow in tackling homophobia in football… i hope this sends a signal through the whole of football..

  6. Ill preface this by saying I am an out gay man, actively involved in volunteer work and my local gay community, so no, im not a closeted self loather..but seems a little heavy handed. Does the guy have a history of homophobic rants? Maybe it could have been handled in a way that didn’t take away the guy’s livelihood and could have been beneficial to gay awareness and causes..

    1. Oxford took it seriously. The words are serious. Imagine if it was a black footballer who he tweeted about? and #tag was jokey about slavery or black stereotypes?

      He would have been booted and we deserve no less.

    2. I mean, how many crap jokes about anal sex does it take for you to get fed up with ‘lads’ humour. “Aww only joking, where’s your sense of humour? ( turns back to his mates in the pub) F*****g benders”.

      1. TheGreatSpaces 11 Jan 2012, 3:39pm

        and then comes on to bender mate later on when noone else is around. #hypocriticalbiguys

    3. I think you have to look at it as unprofessional conduct from one sportsman to another and also look at how would a closeted gay footballer in the same team feel about coming out (or being outed) if team mates were saying that it was necessary to padlock your **** when near them. It is not just the statement but the atmosphere the statement creates in a professional sporting environment. His statement could affect a closeted gay players career and livelihood and remember it is this kind of “laddish behaviour” which gets replicated in schools and playgrounds sometimes with devastating effects. I think this was the right decision as no tolerance to homophobia should be shown within the sport.

      I do sometimes think we over-react to some sleights and sometimes people get a raw deal for some stupid statements but this one was very directed, unprofessional and has significant potential to damage both within the game and beyond.

    4. Well, the club manager is quoted as saying it was the most difficult decision he had ever had to make in his career. And presumably the club was trying to look for a less harsh way of dealing with this in the intervening few days since the tweet and its belated removal. I would imagine that if the player had issued a full, unreserved apology to Gareth Thomas and to everyone else affected (not easy to do since many many people are affected), then a lesser sanction might have sufficed. We can only assume that no such way out could be found which was satisfactory to all concerned.

    5. Livelihood? He played for Oxford City. Hardly going to have been on Rooney style wages. I’ll be surprised if he didn’t have another job as well.

    6. Zero tolerance is the only way that works. No exceptions, if you want to rid sport of racism and homophobia.

  7. I wonder if he’d have been sacked if he was still in his early 20s and scoring in every other game…?

    1. You could wonder lots of things but unless you have anything specific on it why would you?

  8. I don’t see a problem with the comment?
    I may retweet it in support of Lee Steele.

    1. Sister Mary Clarence 11 Jan 2012, 4:54pm

      Yeah, I’m sure Lee Steele’s going to really appreciate that. Its probably something he’d rather put behind him and I’m sure the last thing he wants is vacuous idiots repeating it over and over.

      1. HAHA

        Lets hope he loses everything as a lesson to the other pigs

  9. Where is Stu, usually he is the first one on the bandwagon bleating about this.

  10. A lot of players have been brought up by their Christian families who have been taught to make less of LGBT people, this is what they teach and preach openly in Christian Churches today, hate and destruction of others who are different than you and then they form groups to go out and covertly harass these people who are different to “change” them. Never have I seen so much madness in the Christian Church by the people who profess to love one another. These Christians are the ones who have lost their way and who are working for Satan the destroyer and hater of all.

    1. Wow – off at a tangent … much!

      1. Stu,
        It may be at a tangent but can you deny that there are elements of organised religion who see it as their duty to denigrate and demonise anything they do not like. Martin is correct in that many “christians” closet their children so they can bring them up as clones. Not as much in the UK (but home schooling is becoming more frequent) but in the US it is endemic and not just the christians.

        1. @Dave G

          I’m not denying there are elements of religion that can be extremely cruel and damaging …

          I fail to see the relevance of religion to this particular story …

          Religion is rarely prevalent in UK sport ….

  11. I took it to mean that Steele meant he didn’t trust himself being so close to Thomas. I know I wouldn’t, but then I am openly gay and would have said it directly.

  12. Jock S. Trap 11 Jan 2012, 4:22pm

    Good for Oxford City for making a stand. For someone in Lee Steele’s position he should know better. They don’t pay them those huge amounts to abuse other players no matter what game. If you can’t act professionally like your getting paid to then you shouldn’t and don’t deserve to be in the public eye.

    Hopefully now some will start to see times are changing and if you wish to be respected, then learn to respect others.

    If you can’t, then don’t blame others when you pay the price.

  13. it could have been worse, they could have given him what he wished for

    1. Oscar Watson 11 Jan 2012, 5:50pm


    2. Oh god…I never thought I was squeamish until now

  14. Good to see this club taken action against this bigot (Steele IS homophobic. Non-homophobic people do NOT make homophobic slurs.)

    I reckon it was an easy enough decision to sack him Oxford a minor club and Steele is 38 so close to retirement anyway.

    His legacy to football will be as a homophobic bigot.

  15. Robert in S. Kensington 11 Jan 2012, 4:53pm

    Well done, Oxford City! Maybe now this will trigger more clubs to start taking homophobia in sports seriously. A good start indeed, long overdue.

  16. Maybe Miss Tatchell will intervene.

    1. Hodge Podge 11 Jan 2012, 7:10pm


      1. Obviously being female is the ultimate insult.

    2. ‘Miss’ Tatchell? Pre-Liberation much?

  17. It seems draconian for a (possibly?) first offence of this nature but the story hints at a long discussion process and perhaps this idiot left the club no alternative if he had refused to make a public retraction and apology, for example. At the very least it’s good to see an FC taking abuse of lgbt people seriously, whatever the details.

    1. As KH has helpfully demonstrated, it’s no more draconian than what he was imagining doing to himself ;)

  18. Seems appropriate to me. I am in no doubt that if he had made an equally derogatory and offensive comment about a black or asian player he would quite rightly have been dismissed therefore I this should be addressed in a similar manner. I have worked in a number of different positions and organisations over the years and would expect to have been very heavily disciplined if not sacked in any of my roles if I made such a comment. It’s good to see that in this instance homophobia is being recognised for what it is and not dismissed.

    1. if he had made an equally derogatory and offensive comment about a black or asian player he would quite rightly have been dismissed


  19. Well done Oxford, a gutsy thing to do.

  20. Nutjobsareeverywhere 11 Jan 2012, 8:47pm

    Well done Oxford however don’t try to say the statement is homophobic but not the person . if he thought it said it he’s homophobic. It’s like saying Oxford aren’t at the top of the league but it’s nothing to do with th players!! Well done but tell it how it is

  21. Great to see Oxford take a strong stance and take clear, unambiguous action to show that homophobia has no place in society – and that includes in football …

    Disappointing that the manager tried to minimise the event. I appreciate he may feel loyalty to the player – but he is also an ambassador for the club and sport …

    As for Mike, or Matthew, or whatever name he is choosing to use today … yes I do have an opinion on this – it is to strongly endorse the strong stance taken by Oxford Utd. It is consistent with my view that homophobia is never acceptable. It is the view that is growing exponentially in society. For too long some in football thought racism was nothing to do with football; it shouldnt – and football needs to make sure racism has not place there – and that there is no place for homophobia.

  22. Why would a str8 man be even thinking about “gay sex”. I always believed that it was only homosexuals that made “homophobic” comments

  23. Suddenly Last Bummer 11 Jan 2012, 11:41pm

    And not even an original insult but the same old cliched hackneyed tripe ‘phobes come out with in the locker room. Its cringeful that people still use these insults in this day and age, the old “back to the wall lads” mentality. Lee Steele should just die.

    1. ‘…should just die’ ? Bit harsh.

      1. Suddenly Last Bummer 12 Jan 2012, 10:33am

        I don’t think its harsh. He looks and speaks like a troglodyte. The world and society would be a far better place without bigoted tools such as him.

  24. Davd Millar 12 Jan 2012, 8:20am

    Looking forward to seeing what arch homophobe and Millwall supporter, Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle can snivel up this weekend. Last week, rather than commenting on the Stephen Lawrence verdict, he attempted to unravell Diane Abbotts `white` tweet . How? By sneering at criticism of Liverpool FCs pathetic support for a players racist remark. Rod is a hoot! Never uses the gay word when `homosexual `will do. Hint -people usuallly talk and write about issues which personally affect them.

  25. Now how do we dismiss all people today who are homophobic? If only we had a button we could push to get rid of all anti gay people. For example the people who say “no homo”, is something the Christians thought up to harass LGBT people. How can we make a no anti gay Christian button to push to get rid of them?

    1. If only we had a button to push to lose all homosexuals, the world would be a better place, we would have non of the whining and people could get on with normal life, instead of being harassed and bullied by people who commit sodomy.

      1. If only we had a measure to eradicate people who are bigoted like Mike …

      2. Oh, we do … its called dismissing people who are homophobic and perpetuate unacceptable discrimination …

        Outside the workplace (and sometimes inside) we also have the ability to consider hate crime …

        Of course, those who are hate motivated do not like this, but they are going to have to lump it because society has moved on and is continuing to whether they like it or not …

  26. He’s now signed to Nantwich Town FC and has “apologised” for the comments.

  27. Has Lee Steele seen his face in the mirror recently? That padlock would have been a waste of money.

    1. Just seen his pic! He looks just like Fester Addams from the Addams Family!

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