Oxford City footballer Lee Steele sacked for homophobic tweet
UNWANTED footballer of the Day is Oxford City’s Lee Steele, formerly of Shrewsbury, Oxford United. Brighton and Leyton Orient. He’s been sacked from Southern Football League Premier Division club for saying something unsayable on twitter to his 545 followers about gay former Wales rugby player Gareth Thomas, currently appearing on Celebrity Big Brother. (Steele’s twitter page has been removed.)
As Steele wrote on twitter:
“I wouldn’t fancy the bed next to Gareth Thomas #padlockmyarse”
The top brass at Oxford City FC debated the tweet and ruled:
“Following a Board Meeting last night the club have issued the following brief statement to the FA. The Oxford City board have decided to release Lee Steele in view of his recent comment via social media which is considered seriously contrary to the ethos of the club.”
Is twitter a real place where normal behaviour rules? Why does Steele get sacked but others who say far worse (calling for a woman to be raped and murdered) escape? One word: football. Clubs are expected to control their players and fans behaviour on twitter and in the stands. There can be no hiding place. But how can everyone be made to comply? Will fans and player be asked questions?
1. Do you have black friends? If black, do agree with Diane Abbott?
2. Have you ever abused popele for taking it up the arse, like the song about Victoria Beckham?
3. Did you ever sing or the Arsenal song aimed at Paul Gascoigne, the player Spurs signed from Newcastle: “Chim chiminee, chim chiminee, chim chim cherooooo, Gasgcoigne was a Geordie and now he’s a Jew“?
4. Have your read and signed the FA contract on acceptable fan behaviour?
The current thinking is that whatever you say – be it a fan yelling or player tweeting – it sums you up as a person. It doesn’t. Racism is the stuff of a weak mind. Homophobia is pathetic. But censoring people for a comment on twitter will not make it go away. Keep them in their jobs and ridicule them. Let the football fans make up a new song about Luis Suarez or Lee Steele.