We've called European soccer the most homophobic corner of elite-level sports, so it's great when we see someone in that world take a stand. Oxford City of the Southern Premier League has sacked striker Lee Steele for tweeting a homophobic remark about out former rugby star Gareth Thomas. He said of Thomas' appearance on the UK's Big Brother:
I wouldn’t fancy the bed next to Gareth Thomas. #padlock my a**e
It's possible that Steele's Twitter account has been deleted; A lengthy search came up with nothing.
The club posted a statement on their Web site saying:
The Oxford City board have decided to release Lee Steele in view of his recent comment via social media which is considered seriously contrary to the ethos of the club.
Even in European soccer, it's become more accepted to be gay and less accepted to be homophobic.
I actually feel sorry for him. He made a really stupid mistake, and now he may pay for it with his career. I don't want him Tweeting stuff like that, but in this economy do you want people losing their jobs? I'm not sure that's the most productive way to handle it.
Former pro rugger Ben Cohen celebrated the team responding to homophobia: