International sportsman ‘defended two gay men’ in public brawl
An England cricketer who has been arrested after an alleged brawl was defending two gay men, it has been claimed.
Ben Stokes, 26, was taken in by police in the early hours of Monday morning after the incident, and will not be considered for selection for England until further notice.
But according to Piers Morgan, Stokes was responding to homophobic taunts thrown by two men at two others in Clifton, a suburb of Bristol.
The chat show host, who is friends with several high-profile cricket players, has reported that Stokes “intervened to help two gay guys who were being abused by yobs, one of whom was armed with a bottle.
“Stokes has told friends he was incensed by the homophobic taunts, then saw the bottle being raised & decided to defend himself.”
Morgan, who visited a gay club last month despite making repeated hateful statements about non-binary, genderfluid and transgender people, said Stokes “obviously regrets what happened”.
But, Morgan added, Stokes’ view was: “‘They started it, I finished it. I was protecting those guys.'”
The TV presenter said police were “aware of Stokes’ version of events and are now trying to find the two gay men, to corroborate what he’s said.
Morgan added: “Stokes has told friends: ‘The guy had a bottle in his hand & was threatening us, was I supposed to wait until he smashed it in my face?'”
A 27-year-old was also taken to hospital with facial injuries.
The BBC has reported that the cricket star – one of England’s best players – was “fragile and devastated”.
He has since been released under investigation after being “arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm”.
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The player, who is England’s vice-captain, has a broken finger and has apologised to the England and Wales Cricket Board.
A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: “The disorder which occurred on Queens Road, Clifton, at around 2.35am on Monday continues to be investigated by officers,” according to the Bristol Post.
“A 26-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident and was later released under investigation.
“Anyone who has not yet spoken to police who witnessed any part of the incident, or who captured any footage of it, is asked to call Investigations on 101 providing the call handler with the reference number 5217218578.”