Jorge Martin, a top professional motorcycle racer in Spain, is facing criticism after using a gay slur toward opponents during a live interview Monday on a popular talk show.
Martin, 25, who finished second in the MotoGP world championships, was asked if he gets along with other riders on the Grand Prix circuit.
“I only get along well with one driver, who is Aleix Espargaró, but with the others I don’t pretend to be his friend, Martin said.
“With the others, I don’t intend to be their friend. They are my rivals. It’s not the same to overtake Aleix as it is to overtake others, I’m going to go full throttle, you take off or I’ll take you off. I want to be respectful, but here the last one is a faggot.”
Disgusted to discover that 2023 MotoGP championship runner up Jorge Martin believes it’s appropriate to go on national television and throw out homophobic slurs pic.twitter.com/220Z5PC2WV— Simon Patterson (@denkmit) December 5, 2023
Martin used the Spanish word “marica,” which is widely seen as a gay slur, implying the feminization of men. Some defenders say it’s so commonplace that it’s a filler like “bro” or “dude,” but even allowing for that, this is not the context that Martin used it. In every translation I came across, it was used as “faggot,” which is a slur.
Freelance MotoGP journalist Simon Patterson, whose post on Martin on X is how we found it, said the driver’s comment was not indicative of the sport’s acceptance of LGBTQ people.
“Honestly, the MotoGP paddock isn’t like this as a whole. It’s by far the most tolerant and open race paddock that I’ve ever worked in. Please don’t for a second think this is a reason not to want to be a fan of the sport or to aspire to work in the sport,” Patterson tweeted.
What upset many people who posted on social media was the interviewer and crowd laughing along with Martin when he made the slur. “How annoying that we are in the 21st century and you continue with jokes or cliches from the time of my parents,” said one. A leading Spanish LGBTQ group noted how often bullies use “marica” when tormenting their victims.
Martin posted the clip on his Instagram page and many comments called him out for the gay slur.
There is no defense for what Martin said and the decent thing to do would be to apologize.