Homophobia isn't welcome in the sporting arena.
Two men were arrested last week at King Power Stadium in the UK after directing homophobic slurs toward a stadium of soccer fans during a game between the Leicester City and Hove Albion teams.
Jason Holmes, 44, was charged with “chanting indecently” under Section 3 of the Football Offenses Act, reports the Leicester Mercury newspaper.
Another man who has yet to be named was arrested as well “on suspicion of making obscene gestures” for which he was given what is called a “conditional caution.”
In response to the events of August 19, Leicester City issued a statement of concern, saying that they are “committed to creating a passionate, inclusive, welcoming environment at King Power Stadium.”
While only three men were intercepted by law enforcement for hurling homophobic barbs, approximately 20-30 audience members are said to have engaged in a similar kind of vitriol, the Independent reports.
“It was like something out of the 1970s, and this sort of bigoted, small minded behavior needs to be stopped and those involved ejected from the ground,” one bystander who wished not to be named said to the same newspaper.
“When people use homophobic chanting they’re actually talking about a person’s identity and it’s unacceptable if one person does it, never mind a whole section,” Graham Smith, chairman of Foxes Pride, an advocacy group for LGBT individuals and their allies, said. “It’s unacceptable in the same way as racist language is unacceptable—it’s not banter.”