Following Carson Daly’s apology today for suggesting, in his Los Angeles radio show, that gay people would not have been brave enough to restrain an aggravated pilot who went into “meltdown” on a recent flight to Las Vegas, the mother of one of the passengers who charged the cockpit of hijacked Flight 93 on the morning of 9/11 has made a statement in response.

The essence of Mrs Alice Hoagland’s statement – written in the form of a letter – was how easy and how pernicious the stereotyping of gay people can be.

Mrs Hoagland, whose late son Mark Bingham played rugby for the California Golden Bears, said in her statement that though she was glad Carson had the “grace” to apologise, she hoped that he’d “take the opportunity to learn about the gay community, and how diverse it is. Gay men and women come in every shape and size: short, tall, slender, stout, delicate and powerful. They do not deserve to be stereotyped, nor categorized.”

She added that while her son was caring and attentive and had brought her flowers on Mother’s Day, he was “also was known for careening down the rugby pitch, and, on the morning of September 11, 2001, for charging unarmed down the aisle of a doomed Boeing 757 to face knife-wielding Islamist thugs in a hijacked cockpit. No one among his pick-up team of fellow passengers was asking “Are you straight? Are you gay?” No one doubted that a guy who weighed 220 and stood 6’4′ tall — who could run over a charging opponent on the field, and ran with the bulls in Pamplona earlier that summer — would be an asset to a desperate group trying to overcome a threat onboard an airliner.”

She added: “The world has its share of strong, heroic gay men. Gay men in sports uniforms and military uniforms have been winning America’s games and fighting America’s battles for a long time: quietly, humbly, and in the face of vicious bigotry.”

Carson had made a statement to GLAAD this morning in which he said “The fact that I have hurt anyone is devastating. I’m not that guy. I’m proud to be an ally of the LGBT community and will continue to fight with them.”