Rugby Player Gareth Thomas Victim Of Gay Hate Crime—And Players Are Showing Support In The Best Way

In 2009, Gareth Thomas, who then played for the Wales international team, became the first openly gay rugby union player.

Though he’s garnered nothing but respect and support from his teammates and most fans, discrimination still exists throughout the world. On November 18, Thomas revealed he is no exception.

In a selfie video posted to Twitter, the former professional rugby player—noticeably scratched and bruised around the face—revealed he had been the victim of a “hate crime” at Cardiff City Center in the UK.

Watch his video here:

Thanking police and local fans, Thomas spoke of his experience:

“This morning I’ve decided to make what I hope will be a positive video. Last night I was the victim in my home city of a hate crime for my sexuality.”

Thomas—lovingly called “Alfie” by former opponents and fans alike—hopes his experience will be a healing one for the people of his hometown:

“Why I want it to be positive [is] because I want to say thank you to the police who were involved, who were very helpful and allowed me to do restorative justice with the people who did this because I thought they could learn more that way than any other way.”

If nothing else, Thomas is someone who loves Cardiff.

“And also to the people of Cardiff who supported me and helped me, because there are a lot of people out there who want to hurt us but unfortunately for them, there are a lot more that want to help us heal. So this, I hope, will be a positive message.”

South Wales Police later issued a statement confirming a 16-year-old boy had been apprehended for the assault, but that Thomas had requested law enforcement treat the arrest as a learning experience:

“We can confirm a local 16-year-old boy was dealt with by way of restorative justice following the incident…Restorative justice is about putting victim needs at the centre of the criminal justice system, finding positive solutions to crime and encouraging young people to be accountable for the consequences of their actions.”

Twitter was inspired by Thomas’ message.

Now, in support of their former colleague, French rugby chief Serge Simon announced that the team would be wearing rainbow laces in support of Thomas:

“All of French Rugby is with you regarding the homophobic [attack] you’ve been victim of. To show our support, the French rugby players will wear rainbow laces during the France – Fiji game on Saturday night. We’re all in with you in this matter.”

Fans were right there with the team in their decision!

Other teams followed suit, showing the world that such homophobic violence should be unacceptable to rugby fans everywhere!

The world stands with you, Mr. Thomas!

Thank you for continuing to inspire acceptance and love, even in the face of bigotry and hate.

H/T – The Independent, Pink News