Olympic gold medalist asks if his shoes make him look ‘gay’
A swimmer who struck gold at the Olympics has caused controversy after asking if his shoes made him look ‘gay’.
Tom Shields, who won gold in the 4 x 100m relay, posed the question to fans in an ill-thought out post on Instagram this weekend.
However, despite being automatically deleted after 24 hours, it was still picked up by eagle-eyed fans.
Posting a picture on the social networking site of his new sporting attire, he asked: “Gay or next gen?”
The Americian athelete, who graduated from the University of California, Berkley, split opinion on social media, with some followers slamming the move as “ignorant”.
Others instead mocked the specialist sporting gear, with one user commenting: “OK, I just saw the shoes. They are definitely NOT gay… They are just freaking ridiculous looking.”
Another piled in added it was in fact Shields medals and bling which made him ‘look gay’.
Some users were non-plussed though, wondering what all the fuss was about.
Shields, however, was quick to apologise for any offence caused.
In a post on Twitter, he wrote: “OK, I said this. It was wrong. I’m sorry. Grew up using this as a term for social control. Not an excuse.
“It doesn’t matter what I meant, it associated a great community with being ‘less than’.
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“All that mattered was any pain I possibly brought into people’s lives. For that I’m sorry.”
Being LGBT in sport is often plaugued with stigma and outdated views. Just this year saw the return of Tyson Fury to boxing – who previously said homosexuality would cause the apocalypse.
There are also currently no openly gay players in premier league football, with a call out from the FA Chairman to players in the closet proving fruitless.
Greg Clarke had hoped to go for a private coffee with players to understand the issues, but was unable to find anyone.
He also added the men’s game was two decades behind the women’s in terms of LGBT acceptance.