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Gareth Thomas apologises to ‘small minority’ offended by joke about rugby players grabbing each other’s testicles

Patrick Kelleher March 9, 2020
Gareth Thomas

Gareth Thomas talked to PinkNews about discrimination in all its forms. (Athena Pictures/Getty)

Gareth Thomas has apologised to the “very small minority” of people offended by remarks he made about a rugby player grabbing an opponent’s testicles.

There was some controversy when England player Joe Marler was spotted fondling Wales captain Wyn Jones’s genitals during Saturday’s match.

Wales legend Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009, has since come under fire for a joke he made about the incident on ITV’s match analysis programme.

Speaking on the live show, Thomas said: “It would’ve never happened in my day and I’m really upset about that – because if it had I would have never retired!”

Gareth Thomas faced backlash for his joke on live television.

His joke was well received by the panel, and by some people on social media, but he has also faced sharp criticism from others.

Retired rugby player Andy Goode slammed Thomas in a tweet.

“Imagine if someone touched another man or woman up in the workplace and then someone joked about it on TV,” he said.

“People have admiration for Gareth Thomas with what he’s been through and opened up about, but I wonder if something similar was done in a homophobic way he’d joke about it?”

It would’ve never happened in my day and I’m really upset about that – because if it had I would have never retired!

Thomas responded to the controversy on Twitter yesterday morning.

“To the VERY small minority of people who were offended by my comment yesterday, I apologise,” he wrote.

“I tried to find humour in a situation – that doesn’t mean I condone it, it means I wanted it to not be an issue. So don’t change the narrative to justify how you feel.”

Rugby legend revealed last year that he is HIV-positive.

The incident comes just months after Gareth Thomas revealed that he is HIV-positive after a tabloid newspaper threatened to disclose his status.

Furthermore, the retired rugby player later told BBC Radio 5 Live that a journalist told his parents about his status.

“That person came and took that moment away from me,” he said.

He opened up about contracting HIV in a video on Twitter at the time.

“I am living with HIV,” he said.

“Now you have that information that makes me extremely vulnerable, but it does not make me weak.

“No, even though I have been forced to tell you this, I choose to fight, to educate and break the stigma around this subject.”

 

More: Gareth Thomas, Joe Marler, Wyn Jones

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