Updated Friday, 12:10 p.m. EST
Italian footballer Antonio Cassano has been handed down a €15,000 fine for saying that hoped his championship team included no gay players. Details follow.
UEFA said today: “Following the opening of disciplinary proceedings against Italy’s Antonio Cassano for a discriminatory press statement (Art. 11bis of the Disciplinary Regulations) during UEFA EURO 2012, the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body has decided to impose a fine of €15,000 on the player. “An appeal can be lodged against this decision within three days of the dispatch of the full written decision.” Cassano had issued a statement shortly after the original comments saying he did not pass judgement on others. He said: “I sincerely regret that my statements have sparked controversy and protest from gay rights groups. “Homophobia is a sentiment that is not mine. I did not want to offend anyone and I can not question the sexual freedom of other people."
We guess Italian soccer (oh sorry, "football") forward, Antonio Cassano won't be signing up for part two of this ad. (Or maybe he might, just off the field and off-the-record...)
Antonio Cassano said this week that he hopes there are no homosexual players on the national football team at the European Championship; he then used a derogatory word to describe gays.
According to the Associated Press, "After being told by an Italian reporter that there might be some undeclared gay players on the team, Cassano appeared at a loss for words before responding.
'That's their problem, but I hope not. ... But I don't know,' he said, then added that he hoped his answer sufficed. 'Because if not, you know I'll be attacked from every direction.'"
(The Washington Post quotes Cassano as saying, “What’s a metrosexual?” Cassano asked. He then added: “Queers in the national team? That’s their business. But I hope not. . . . But I don’t know.”)
We think Antonio made his point pretty clear.
Not surprisingly, gay groups in Italy were less than pleased by his comments.
According to the ANSA news agency, homosexual cultural club leader Mario Mieli said, "Those that express hate toward others should not represent us in the national team."
Gay Center spokesman Fabrizio Marrazzo added: "He deserves at least a warning, if not to be expelled from the Euros."
Apparently their outcry made an impact.
Cassano has since apologized in a statement posted the official website of the Italian Football Federation.
Cassano claims his comments had been misinterpreted and that he did not want to cause offense.
He wrote: "I sincerely regret that my statements have sparked controversy and protest from gay rights groups.
Homophobia is a sentiment that is not mine. I did not want to offend anyone and I can not question the sexual freedom of other people.
I only said that it is a problem that does not concern me and it is not for me to pass judgment on the choices of others, who are all respected."
Actions speak louder than words, sir. (And a public apology means more than a statement, allegedly written by you, that's posted on a Federation website...)