The chairman of Ireland’s only all-male gay soccer team has described a joke made by Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill in Cork last Wednesday as unhelpful and disappointing.
Mr O’Neill made a joke about not wanting people to think he and assistant manager Roy Keane were “queers” at an event at the Cork Opera House.
Dublin Devils FC chairman John McAree said the comment sent the wrong message to young LGBTI teens who love football and idolise people like Martin O’ Neill.
“This is the wrong message to send to the LGBTI community a week before the Euro 2016 championships. O’Neill is an idol to many young gay teens all over Ireland.
“His comments will make them feel isolated, confused and different. Many young LGBTI men and women play football at local level and support Ireland at international level.
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“The club was disappointed to hear O’Neill’s comments as they do nothing to help with the ongoing issue of homophobia in the world of football - in fact, his comments are part of the problem.”
Mr McAree said he spoke for the entire club when he expressed a wish that they could put these comments behind them and focus on offering the Republic of Ireland team “as much support and encouragement as we possibly can”.
Martin O’Neill has described the joke as “crass” and “inappropriate”, and has apologised for it.
Speaking after a training session at Abbotstown, Co Dublin, on Monday, Mr O’Neill said: “At the end of the day it was inappropriate, that comment, which I definitely apologise for.
“A genuine apology, if it has upset people. Almost the minute I had said it, I realised that I should not have said that, absolutely. I should not have said it.”
He recalled how he had played soccer with the late Justin Fashanu at a couple of different clubs and said he viewed him in the same way he did other team-mates.
Asked about the call by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) that he publicly endorse the greater involvement of the LGBTI community in sport , Mr O’Neill said: “I’ve no problem saying it, absolutely not. Not at all.
“I will do, first of all if it helps the apology, and secondly if it’s taken in the right spirit, I will definitely do it.”
Part of this posting was publish on The Irish Times
Jokes on Minorities that are loosing their lives and limbs somewhere in the world because of sentiments expressed on jokes makes it disrespectful but it also makes the young trying to come out and deal with his homosexuality even more difficult. Want to joke about something funny? With politics the way they are you should have plenty of suckers. Death, sickness and lack of civil and human rights are so sad to make light of. Actually the joke is on us because many of us at one point or another helped the propaganda that LGBT and others were not real human beings and it was ok to laugh at their expense not realizing that to do so would be like laughing at a combat soldier coming home with a prosthetic leg?