Australian swimmer keeps underwear deal after ‘homophobic’ comment

Stephen Gray September 8, 2010
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After a homophobic comment on Twitter last week, the Olympian Stephanie Rice will keep her underwear deal.

The 22-year-old had her Jaguar sponsorship deal revoked and the $100,000 XF given to her as part of the agreement taken back.

But underwear company Davenport and Sunrice will stand by the swimmer and continue with their partnership.

Ms Rice caused controversy by tweeting: “Suck on that faggots!” following the Wallabies’ dramatic Tri-Nations win over the Springboks at the weekend.

At a press conference in Sydney today, she said: “I’m not homophobic at all and I have a lot of gay friends.

“What I said, I didn’t meant to hurt people in that way, it’s not the way I intended it to be – and that hurts me.”

Ms Rice added: “Straight after I posted I got some negative comments back, so I deleted it straight away and tried to explain I had got too caught up in the moment.

“You know, I love seeing Australians do well and it was such an exciting game and I guess that’s why I tried to take it back straight away.

“I probably didn’t realise how big it was until the next day.”

The swimmer has received support from openly gay Australian diver Matthew Mitcham who called her comments “thoughtless” but “not homophobic”, and from gay rights activist Gary Burns, who said: “What people need to understand is, she’s been made aware of what she said, she now understands that those words may have caused offence and she’s apologised publicly for those words.”

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