Sport

Toulon rugby team refuses to condemn player who called opponent a ‘f**king faggot’

Nick Duffy January 16, 2018
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Mathieu Bastareaud of Toulon (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

French rugby union club Toulon is astoundingly defending its captain after he used homophobic slurs during a match.

Mathieu Bastareaud, a French rugby union centre who plays for Toulon, came under fire during Sunday’s European Champions Cup match against Benetton.

During a confrontation with the opposing team flanker Sebastian Negri, Bastareaud referred to him as a “f**king faggot”.

The player – who could be facing a ban over the remarks – has incredibly had his actions defended by his club.

It said: “Rugby Club Toulonnais would like to remind everyone that the Club has always advocated and defended differences between individuals and the respect of these differences.

“The RCT is convinced that Mathieu used these unfortunate comments whilst in a state of aggravation, as can happen regularly during a game of rugby and that he is not at all homophobic.

“This kind of language should not allow people to condemn our captain who has always defended the rich diversity between individuals and proves it every day within our heterogeneous group of players.”

Bastareaud previously took to Twitter to ‘apologise’ for the incident – while he attempted to blame Negri.

France’s outside centre Mathieu Bastareaud (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

He said: “Good evening everybody, I want to apologize for my reactions to the insults from the Italian player.

“I reacted badly in responding to his provocation, I am sincerely sorry for the people I hurt.”

The European Professional Club Rugby said: “EPCR has received a citing complaint against the RC Toulon player, Mathieu Bastareaud (No 13), following his club’s Champions Cup, Round 5 match against Benetton Rugby at Stade Felix Mayol.

“Bastareaud is alleged to have verbally abused a Benetton Rugby player in the 80th minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.12.

“Details of the independent Disciplinary Hearing and any other disciplinary matters arising from Round 5 of EPCR’s competitions will be announced as soon as practicable.”

Mathieu Bastareaud (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The ECPR added: “As of now, the citing commissioner is considering the incident as part of his routine review of the match, and will make a decision when he has concluded his enquiries.”

The comments had been roundly condemned by other players.

Former England player Andy Good said: “Disgusting from Mathieu Bastareaud. No place in the game for homophobia, @ChampionsCup should throw the book at him.

“Absolutely disgusting and no place for it anywhere. I hope @ChampionsCup make an example of @BastaOfficiel and ban him for a long time.”

The player has a chequered past.

Mathieu Bastareaud of Toulon (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

He notoriously made the headlines during the 2009 French tour to New Zealand and Australia, when he claimed he sustained injuries during an assault.

Bastareaud claimed to have been assaulted from behind by “four or five men” as he was returning from a night out.

However, New Zealand Police investigating the incident found camera footage confirming that he had returned to the hotel uninjured.

The player later admitted that he had fabricated the story to conceal the fact that he sustained the injuries after tripping over a table in his hotel room.

The surreal incident sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries – which led to the French Prime Minister François Fillon issuing an apology to all of New Zealand.

A gay rugby player recently invited homophobic internet trolls to come and repeat their abuse to his face.

Mathieu Bastareaud of France (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Gareth Thomas, who came out in 2009, issued the challenge to football fans who posted abuse about Brighton and Hove Albion, while following the club for a documentary.

Thomas issued an invitation to members of a Crystal Palace message board, after threatening homophobic comments were posted online.

The player offered an on-camera meeting to the trolls while filming documentary Alfie v Homophobia: Hate In The Beautiful Game, which looks at homophobia in the sport.

The player also witnessed homophobic chants and gestures by Leeds United fans at a match against Brighton.

Thomas said: “The most surprising thing out of everything is the acceptance of the level of abuse – the normality that abuse has been given. I find that unacceptable.

“It’s a human right that we are allowed to be who we want to be – but within this game if you’re not the stereotypical male or female we expect you to be then we’re allowed to abuse you for 90 minutes.

“I would give my right arm to sit down in a room with one of these people, just to understand their views.”

In the documentary, Thomas opens up about his “years of torment” he’d been through before he announced he was gay, having to hide who he really was from the rest of the world.

But he says he was pleasantly surprised by the reaction to the news by those around him.

He said: “It took my team-mates, my friends, my family, probably 30 seconds of contemplation to be able to say ‘it doesn’t matter’. And to me, all of a sudden, life was completely different.”

Related topics: Anti-gay, Europe, France, Homophobia, homophobic, LGBT, Rugby, sport

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