Teen apologises to rugby star Gareth Thomas for homophobic attack

Ella Braidwood November 19, 2018
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Rugby player Gareth Thomas makes a point during the Rugby League Alitalia European Cup match between Wales and Ireland.

Gareth Thomas in 2010, a year after he came out, and shortly before he retired from rugby.(Getty/Stu Forster)

Former Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas has met with the teenager who assaulted him in a homophobic attack, receiving his apologies.

According to a press release put out by South Wales Police on Sunday (November 18), the 16-year-old boy “admitted assault and was apologetic for his actions.”

Thomas had called for restorative justice over the homophobic attack in The Hayes, Cardiff city centre on Friday (November 16) in a video he posted on Twitter on Sunday.

Restorative justice focuses on rehabilitating offenders through reconciliation with their victims.

Gareth Thomas denounces homophobic attack

Thomas, who retired in 2011, said in his video: “This morning I have decided to make what I hope will be a positive video.

“Last night I was the victim in my home city of a hate crime for my sexuality.”

He had visible scratches on his head and appeared to have suffered bruising as a result of the attack, which he said took place on Saturday night.

“There’s a lot of people out there who want to hurt us.”

—Gareth Thomas

The rugby star came out as gay in 2009 and has campaigned for LGBT rights.

Thomas continued: “Why I want it to be positive: I want to say thank you to the police, who were involved and allowed me to do restorative justice to the people that did this because I thought they could learn more that way.

“And also to the people of Cardiff who supported me and helped me because there’s a lot of people out there who want to hurt us.

“But, unfortunately for them, there’s a lot more who want to help us heal. So this, I hope, will be a positive message.”

Gareth Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009
Gareth Thomas came out as gay in 2009. (YouTube/Screengrab)

Sporting world sends best wishes to Gareth Thomas

Figures from the sporting world have offered Thomas their support.

Sports presenter Gabby Logan tweeted: “Loads of love big man xx.”

Former English rugby player Maggie Alphonsi posted: “I’m so sorry this has happened to you Gareth. Thank you for speaking out about it and bringing this to our attention. It’s sad to think there are still small minded people out there.

“They are the minority but the majority are with you. You are a true role model to me and us all x.”

ITV sports presenter Jill Douglas said: “Well put Alfie [Thomas’ nickname] – very sorry you had to experience this, but a typically positive and uplifting reaction. Big❤️.”

International Gay Rugby chair Ben Owen commented: “To us Gareth is a hero, one of the few brave enough in men’s rugby to stand up and be open about who he is.

“But it shouldn’t be that way, it shouldn’t take bravery to be who you are or to go out for a few pints to celebrate your team winning.

“Hate crimes have no place in 21st century Britain and have no place in our sport, on or off the pitch.

“Luckily the actions of these sick few are not representative of the many in the rugby community.”

More: Assault, Gareth Thomas, homophobic, homophobic attack, Wales

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