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Brazil volleyball team cuts player after his homophobic remarks about bi Superman

Mauricio Souza was upset that the new Superman is bi and kissed his boyfriend. His remarks got him fired.

VMauricio Souza played for Brazil’s 2020 Olympic volleyball team.
Mauricio Souza played for Brazil’s 2020 Olympic volleyball team.
Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images

A Brazilian pro volleyball team has cut a player who made a homophobic remark about the new Superman coming out as bisexual and kissing his boyfriend.

Under a photo showing Clark Kent’s son, Jonathan, kissing his boyfriend that will be in an upcoming issue of Superman, Mauricio Souza wrote on Instagram:

“Oh, it is just a drawing, it’s no big deal. Go on and we’ll see where we end up.”

He used a raised eyebrow and a lips zipped emoji in the post, which drew condemnation from many in Brazilian sports, including fellow volleyball player Douglas Souza, who is gay. Mauricio and Douglas played together on Brazil’s Olympic volleyball team.

“It’s funny that I didn’t ‘go straight’ seeing male superheroes kissing women,” Douglas Souza wrote on social media, referencing what Mauricio Souza wrote without naming him. “If an image like that worries you, I’m sorry, but I have something new for your fragile heterosexuality. There will be a kiss, yes. Thank you, DC [Comics], for thinking of representing all of us, not just a part.”

Mauricio Souza, who has made other homophobic remarks before, according to media reports, followed up later by defending his post, saying, “Nowadays, right is wrong and wrong is right… Don’t depend on me. If I have to choose a side, I’m on the side that I think is right! I stay with my beliefs, values ​​and ideas.”

But this week, he issued a nonapology-apology after his comments came under widespread criticism: “I came here to apologize to everyone who was offended by my opinion, for standing up for what I believe. It was not my intention. Just as you defend what you believe, I also have the right to defend what I believe.”

He made the apology on Twitter, where he has 400 followers, while his post criticizing bi Superman was made on Instagram, where he has 260,000 followers.

His team, Minas Tênis Clube, cut ties with Mauricio Souza after nine years following pressure from fans, players, LGBTQ activists and sponsors.

Walter Casagrande, a former national team member, was harshly critical of Mauricio Souza.

“I’m not surprised, because this guy is homophobic, he’s a guy who was mean to me,” Casagrande said. “This guy, Mauricio Souza, is homophobic, prejudiced, possibly racist, cowardly and bad-tempered.”

And the coach of the Brazilian national team, Renan dal Zotto, said he doesn’t want Mauricio Souza back.

“I was disappointed. This type of conduct by Mauricio is unacceptable and I am radically against any kind of prejudice, homophobia, racism,” Dal Zotto said. “When it comes to the Brazilian team, there is no room for homophobic professionals. Above all I need to have a team and I can’t have this kind of controversy in the group.”

Mauricio Souza does have one defender — the country’s right-wing, homophobic president, Jair Bolsonaro, who dismissed critics of the player by saying, “everything is homophobia.” Mauricio Souza is a supporter of Bolsonaro.