back to article Footie club sacks striker for homophobic tweet

Oxford City have sacked ageing striker Lee Steele after he posted a homophobic tweet. Steele, 38, wrote a tweet about former Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas entering Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother house that stated "I wouldn't fancy the bed next to Gareth Thomas #padlockmyarse", The Guardian reports. The remark earned …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought football and sectarianism were synonymous in Scottish football? If you remove the mob us or them mentality, who would bother going to the footie?

    1. David Neil

      There's a difference between shouting a bit of nonsense inside a ground at opposing fans and getting a shoeing because you happened to go to a different school.

    2. LyleS

      Sectarianism is synonymous in Glasgow but not for the rest of us.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I would agree - its mostly isolated to Glasgow and the West of Scotland.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Can't think why ...

    ... I would most definitely fancy the bed next to Gareth Thomas.

    I can't imagine what makes unattractive idiots imagine all gay men want to have sex with them.

    1. Richard Gadsden

      They're afraid

      They're afraid that gay men would treat them the way they treat women.

      1. Hollerith 1
        Thumb Down

        That's why the Old Testament banned it

        Leviticus 19:18 condemns men having sex with men because one of them must take the woman's role. Nothing makes a woman feel more valued as a human being than knowing that her 'role' is so demeaning that it incurs divine wrath.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Leviticus also says:

          Eating shellfish is an abomination

          People wearing clothes of mixed fabrics should be put to death

          Women are ritually unclean when on their period

          Leviticus shouldn't be quoted by anyone who isn't an ultra-authodox Jew, and even then, it's probably best not to. A lot of people forget that pretty much everything in the old testament is superseded by the new covenant, unless they want to use it to defend their own prejudices. I believe it was Desmon Tutu who recently said something along the lines of: "Do you seriously think that if Jesus came back to Earth today he would care at all about matters of personal sexuality, when there is War, Famine, Injustice rife all over the world."

    2. Dantarian

      I've seen homophobia defined...

      ... as the fear that a gay man will treat the proponent in the same way the proponent treats women.

      1. Aaron Em

        No end to Lee Steele's evil, is there?

        Not just a homophobe, but a sexual harasser too -- probably best to have him shot at dawn.

        What? There's no evidence of any such behavior on his part? Okay fine, but we're not going to let that stop us from insinuating whatever the hell we please, are we? After all, he's not just male but a rugby player, and we all know what *they're* like.

        1. Lamont Cranston

          Image is very important to football clubs.

          I'm sure that any high profile person from any organisation, would face some sort of consequence for publically voicing their opinion that gay men are rapists.

          Maybe he'd have gotten away with it, if he'd replaced the hashtag with "lol jk" (or whatever the kids are using, now)?

    3. zb

      If you were as good looking as me ...

      ... you would have an idea of what it is like.

  3. Locky

    Steele has declined to make any further comment

    Probably wise in the circumstances really

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Especially in light of the fact that Gareth Thomas is one tough b@astard. Possibly one of the toughest fullbacks I've ever witnessed. I believe in one match I watched he just casually carried on with a busted nose or something.

      1. Paul Johnston
        Thumb Up

        Tough yes!

        This it his first tackle in Rugby League

        Bit of a wobble but did stop him coming back for more.

        1. Shaun 1

          If that's the one I think it is

          his first run into a Catalan Dragons player, he went in to that as a union player, expecting everyone to go to ground, but just ran into a wall.

          He redeemed himself after that, did pretty well in recent matches

  4. min

    ...declined to comment..

    ..because they mistook his grunts for actual grunts and not the attempts at speech that they really were.

    i'd personally be flattered if Gareth Thomas propositioned me. i'd have to turn him down of course, but i fail to see what got up this footballer'snose to incite him into ranting his twattery about someone who he'll most likely never share anything with...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what

    >"On this occasion Lee's had to pay for his error of judgment. He's made a homophobic comment, [but] that doesn't necessarily mean he's homophobic."

    He may not be homophobic but so what if he is. Isn't anybody entitled to a view other than those forced upon us by a namby pamby state? What next, will people be censored for preferring blondes over brunettes?

    Would the action taken make a genuine homophobic change their view or reinforce any feeling that gays are getting all the breaks? I can see the rage rising already, I'm making a point not necessarily expressing a personal opinion.

    I can see a stream of comments along the lines of "serves the bastard right" but isn't this just another example of big brother telling us how to feel?

    Oh, and if you want my personal opinion, I couldn't care less what anybody wants to dip their wick in so long as it's not me, but hey, maybe I should lose my job for writing that.

    1. Lamont Cranston

      I doubt this will "make a genuine homophobic change their view"

      but it does help to make it clear that discrimination against someone on the basis of the sexuality is not something that our society wishes to tolerate.

      Luckily, as a straight, white male, the worst discrimination I've ever had to face, is the assumption that I can rendered incapable by a cold.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Modern political correctness

        I'm a straight, white male, and also short, fat and ugly. For 5 of those 6 attributes, I'm protected from abuse by law and/or political correctness. The remaining attribute is still fair game for everybody!

        (gets coat in response to chorus of "stop whining, shortarse!!")

      2. <shakes head>

        sorry you are wrong you are also define as weeker and with fewer braincells that the average woman, in most comercials these days.


    2. Aaron Em

      "Isn't anybody entitled to a view other than those forced upon us..."

      Of course -- the progressive movement would never *dream* of telling you what to think or how to feel! You can bear whatever opinions you like about the world and the people around you; it's just that, inasmuch as those opinions fail to conform to requirements, you're not allowed to act on them, speak of them, or admit to their existence, under penalty of law.

    3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      What if he is?

      It's not so much what he is, but what he encourages of others or suggests by way of stereotyping.

      #lockupmyarse clearly suggests the notion that gays will be going around with abuse in mind and people need to protect themselves from that. That paints a false image of gays and the reality of encounters and interactions with gays. It is consequentially harmful to gays.

      Ultimately; you can think what you like but keep those thoughts to yourself, or express them in non-harmful or hateful ways.

      Of course, that's only one viewpoint. In other places freedom of speech is argued to embrace freedom to hate so it may seem very odd to some.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

      Perhaps slightly melodramatic, but true nonetheless. Unless his actions are seen to be inappropiate, it as as if they are condoned. He is of course entitled to his opinion, but his employer is making the point that his opinions are not welcomed at his workplace.

      I'm not sure I agree with firing him, personally, as I dont really understand the nature of the tweeting, and for me it would depend on how publically the tweet was expected to be.

      "..gays are getting all the breaks? I can see the rage rising already.." - really not sure what you are talking about here..

      "I couldn't care less what anybody wants to dip their wick in so long as it's not me..." I'm sure if this was the opinion voiced by Lee, he would have been fine. Instead he was publically ridiculuing a fellow sportsmans sexuality; a sexual orientation that in the very recent past (living memory) was criminalised in the UK, and grounds for chemical castration and stigmatisation, and for which he may risk death in some countries.

      You sound to me like you are just regurgitation some 'pub opinion'. It probably sounds like the right thing to say over a beer, but remember that you never really know whats going on in your friends heads. Or how straight they really are...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        >You sound to me like you are just regurgitation some 'pub opinion'. It probably sounds like the right thing to say over a beer,

        When I lived in Camden Town my local was The Black Cap, so I doubt I'm regurgitating some "pub opinion" as you put it. In other places I have lived I preferred the more alternative bars and where I currently live in Madrid, if I go out for a drink I'm more likely to be in a bar in Chueca than elsewhere so I think I know how straight my drinking partners are.

        The tone of the replies to my comment simply illustrate my point that we are only allowed to think what is in fashion at the time.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon


          Personally I think it's ok to hold whatever view you like in private, but when you encourage others to hold the same view - such as a public announcement that you think you might be at risk if you slept in the next bed to a gay man then you have definitely moved out of the private opinion area.

          My wife holds the most outrageous views on many subjects - sometimes they offend even me - but I know that she doesn't act on any of them in public (apart from leaping away from the small snotty child that's trying to put their hands on her) so they are not illegal. If she were to post on public blog that she would like to see compulsory sterilisation for arseholes (and give examples) then she would probably be in trouble.

          Thankfully I'm pretty ambivalent regarding other peoples' sexuality - put to the test when I was invited out for drinks with friends in Amsterdam and spent the whole evening in a gay bar without even realising it until someone said I 'seemed alright for a bloke' which made me think 'what the fuck are you on about?' and pay more attention to my surroundings. Much to the hilarity of those present I might add. I didn't even know my friend was gay until she went back to her houseboat with her girlfriend.

          This planet is a weird old place.

        2. Lamont Cranston

          @Chris W

          No, you're entitled to think what you like, but if you want to express the view that gay men are unable to resist any other man's unguarded anus, you shouldn't expect that view to go unchallenged, given that it is a) ridiculous, and b) offensive to gay men (maybe all men, unless the "all men are rapists" feminists were right, all along?).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Lamont Cranston

            I don't disagree that views should go unchallenged nor did I ever express that.

            I do disagree that someone should be persecuted for their views.

            1. Lamont Cranston

              @Chris W

              I'll agree that persecuting someone, based on their views is wrong, and so I won't be firing up a burning brand and chasing anyone out of town, any time soon.

              However, if you are going to express hateful views, then it surely must be expected that those around you will disassociate themselves from you, much as the football club has done in this case (the sacking probably the result of a contractual obligation to not bring the club into disrepute, or somesuch).

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Thumb Up

                @Lamont Cranston 10:40

                Thanks, you have convinced me of the clubs necessity to dismiss their player. I see your point that the club would find it difficult to distance itself from its players views without taking action against the player. Most of my friends, not to mention my wife, have opposing views to me some I might consider hateful but it doesn't detract from the overall person, it's a pity the club has had to take such drastic action based on one comment.

                @AC 14:09 Certain factions of Women Against Rape call for a curfew on all men amongst other more unrestrained wishes.

                1. Lamont Cranston

                  @Chris W

                  Get thee to a divorce court, pronto! And don't forget to tweet me the details.

    5. Adam-the-Kiwi

      @Chris W, Aaron Em,

      > "...forced upon us by a namby pamby state..."

      > "...the progressive movement..."

      Actually, I think you'll find it was only Oxford Football Club.

    6. James Micallef Silver badge

      shall I draw you a diagram??

      You're free to prefer blondes over brunettes.

      You're not free to abuse brunettes just because you prefer blondes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @James Micallef

        What planet are you on? You are letting your sensitivities override any form of comprehension. Where on earth do you get the idea that the footballer ever suggested abusing anybody?

        1. Marty

          "Where on earth do you get the idea that the footballer ever suggested abusing anybody?"

          err... try the hash tag....

          the fact that he suggested he would need a padlock to prevent unauthorised access to his ass because he was in the next bed... in particular the padlock bit, suggesting that "er,thanks but no thanks, your not my type" would not be enough to block entrance !!

          i dont believe what he said is a sacking offence.... if it was said about a fellow team mate, maybe at a push and refused to apologise, but if anything, it should be a telling off, and a personal apology to the guy in question.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            Your comprehension seems to be on a par with the others. How does suggesting he may need to protect himself suggest that homosexuals should be abused?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              One final thought for today

              I wonder what you'd all be saying if it turns out that the footballer is also gay and that Gareth Thomas just wasn't his type.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @Chris W

              Personally it was the implication in the hashtag that Gareth Thomas or any gay man would have no moral/ethical issues about raping a man who was sleeping in the next bed that I find to be offensive but eh what do I know.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                @AC 09:58

                Welcome to the club. There is often the implication by certain groups that hetrosexual men would have no moral issue about raping a woman who is sleeping in a bed next to them, but hey that's alright, some of them are even funded by government and lottery grants. I assume you also find that equally offensive.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  @Chris W

                  I do, next question would be do you have any links to these groups?

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You can say whatever you like, that's free speech

      You just have to be prepared to be challenged, and even taken to task, if what you say is offensive, stupid, or wrong.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC 17:33

        Now that you've got that off your chest maybe you could tell us all which part of the reply next but one up from yours you didn't understand.

        Seems like we've got a lot of sensitve old dears in here today.

    8. Anonymous John

      Will people be censored for preferring blondes over brunettes?

      It makes good sense to me.

  6. Lamont Cranston

    Twitter, for all its faults,

    seems to provide a very valuable service, in that it gives public figures just enough rope...

  7. DrXym Silver badge

    So how does one padlock an arse?

    Is there a special Kensington butt plug for that purpose?

    1. Dave Walker


      I know a good body piercer who could make suitable holes for a "Yale" padlock....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Potential marketing slogan?

        "Abus your anus"

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Local Group

          Another Advert.

          Anus Ajar?

          Padlockyourarse with Pridelock.

          Keep dignity in and trouble out.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just maybe he did not want to sleep there ...

    because that guy snores?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      I suppose you're going to suggest that his hearing aid is fitted rectally as well, prompting him to 'padlockhisarse'. Hmm, I'm off to dragons den.

  9. g e
    Thumb Up


    If only the Premier Division clubs had half the balls to do this with their overpaid cavemen.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What, this pillock of a football player automatically assumes that a man of Gareth's character would firstly be attracted to the troll and secondly be unable to stop himself from forcing himself on him.

    Gareth is more a man that this little dick could ever wish to be - he'd also be more than capable of kicking his arse should he so wish...

  11. bigphil9009


    Homophobia - the fear of homosexuality. That tells us that a homophobe is frightened of homosexuality. This is what it comes down to - they are afraid of people who are not like "them". Fear can be conquered through education, can't it?

    Or are attitudes such as those displayed by the footballer (and many others) not related to fear, but rather prejudice and hatred? These attitudes are somewhat harder to overcome.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      People vs Activities

      We wouldn't recommend women walk by themselves in dark alleys because they are too physically weak to defend themselves (sexually) against larger and stronger alcohol-addled men. The attempted humour in Steele's post is that a fit and strong bloke such as himself would find himself in the same position. The humour being derived from leading your thoughts down one path ("I'm an ultra-fit footballer") and landing you somewhere unexpected ("I'm as weak as a girl, in this scenario"). The joke is about muscle-bound rugger-players and I'm pretty sure would not have been made about Graham Norton. I suspect many men would equally express nervousness if a huge female body-builder was in the house, for comedic purposes.

      Why must we all agree to enjoy anal-sex? If we don't want it, why are we not allowed to say so? I can understand not tagging #ihateblacks, but there is a world of difference between saying you don't like what someone *is* and saying that you don't want to join in with what they *do*. Are these people so insecure that they feel they need laws so that no-one can say what they are doing is wrong. Perhaps its just the football club that's insecure, but I think I might put that down to "education."

      If Jordan had been on the the show and Steele had tagged #zipupfly, would he have been fired for being hetero-phobic? If Thomas said he thought the idea of sex with a woman was icky, would he lose his job?

      I saw an anal-sex (not specifically gay) education film once. Over and over it said, "it doesn't have to be painful, you just have to take it really slow because the rectal tissue is relatively fragile, use plenty of artificial lubricant or it will hurt a lot and make sure you wash carefully to get rid of all the excrement you'll get on you, so you don't get sick. Then you'll be alright." Hmmm, methinks thou dost protest too much.

      So lets have a poll:

      Downvote: if you would not mind being "jumped" by a good-looking member of your own sex

      Upvote: if you would not mind being "jumped" by a good-looking member of the opposite sex

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Education is the answer

      I think a lot of people are just scared of differences.

      A chat with some similar people to him who were gay would probably help more than sacking.

      The sure for any ism is getting to know people of that target.

  12. zanto

    cry me a river

    was there something really so offensive in his tweet?

    i miss the good old days. when we had movies like "History of the World part I" where everyone could laugh at anyone. now, we can make fun of the Church because that is intellectual and "kewl", but gays are off limits?

    and yet we all point fingers at the moron who twitted and call *him* insecure?

  13. John Schwarz


    One wonders if the result would have been the same if the footballer in question hadn't been 38.

  14. Johan Bastiaansen

    padlock anybody?

    I would be in all kinds of trouble if I replied to this, so I padlocked my mouth.

  15. Winkypop Silver badge


    Who would have thought that rugby players knew how to write?

    1. Tibbs

      The guy sacked was a fotballer, not a rugby player.

      As for rugby player's intelligence, JPR Williams, Wales' greatest ever full back (sorry Alfie) is a surgeon, Jonathan Webb England Fullback is/was a doctor, Brian Moore was a lawyer, the list goes on...

      Graeme Le Saux used to get abused for being a brainbox because he had a degree...

  16. John A Blackley


    I will agree that the opinion expressed in the tweet might well be hurtful to the subject of the opinion and, possibly to gay men in general.

    I do not agree that making an idiotic tweet - which shows the sender to be a bit of a numpty - is grounds for dismissal.

    That, I think, illustrates our present "don't mention the war/race/gays" approach to these subjects. Fining, sacking or even imprisoning someone for expressing their opinion does nothing to educate that person or others who hold that opinion and, in my life, hurting my feelings has never been grounds for punitive action by anyone except me.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't know much about Gareth Thomas but if he was a Welsh Rugby Captain he commands respect for being a great athlete at the top of a very tough profession. Who cares about his sexuality?

    I don't know much about Lee Steele except he seems a gobby and stupid has-been (never-was) footballer. Who cares about his petty and irrelevent opinions?

    I'm assuming that Gareth doesn't give 2 hoots about Lee Steele or any of the cr*p he tweets, so why all the downvotes and upvotes here?

    I do sense a hypocracy that Lee has lost his job. I don't care for his cr*p and I'm not defending it, but, last week Dianne Abbott tweeted racist bilge about white people being colonialists and kept her job OK. This week Lee tweeted homophobic bilge and got sacked.

    Dianne Abbott's outburst was far worse in my opinion - she is a sitting MP with aspirations to lead one of the two main political parties in this country and form a government. What Dianne thinks matters.

    Nobody cares what Lee Steele thinks.

    Question: is society in a position where "minorities" can express any view OK, but straight white males are hammered for any non-PC opinion?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Rugby players seem to be ok (ish) with their sexuallity. Footballers just don't, there is to my knowledge not a single (out) gay premiership footballer - I mean seriously? I know lots of gay guys who love football, so it can't be that football isn't interesting to them for some reason, some of them are certainly fit enough, so that's not it, no it can only be prejudice.

      Personally I'm bi and just don't get any team ball sports and have had to put up with some fairly shocking homophobia from a few football fanatics, so I'm not entirely without prejudice myself.

  18. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Stupid twit

    I mean, a clearly misled comment. A padlock is not going to stop Thomas for long.

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