Gareth Thomas, former Wales rugby captain, was the victim of a hate crime in November of 2018. The 44-year old, who came out as gay in 2009, was assaulted in Cardiff and stated he was targeted because of his sexuality. in the video below, Thomas described the attack and thanked the police and people of Cardiff for helping him.
International Gay Rugby (IGR) made a statement showing support and condemning the actions of those who attacked Thomas:
International Gay Rugby (IGR) stands shoulder to shoulder with Gareth Thomas in condemning the homophobic attacks that he was subject to on Saturday evening in Cardiff following Wales’ 74 - 24 win over Tonga.
The IGR community offers their full support and a speedy recovery to Gareth who first came out as being gay in 2009.
Speaking on the attacks, IGR Chair Ben Owen said:
“To us Gareth is a hero, one of the few brave enough in men’s rugby to stand up and be open about who he is.
But it shouldn’t be that way, it shouldn’t take bravery to be who you are or to go out for a few pints to celebrate your team winning.
Hate crimes have no place in 21st century Britain and have no place in our sport, on or off the pitch.
Luckily the actions of these sick few are not representative of the many in the rugby community.
International Gay Rugby will continue to work at a grassroots level, with national unions and with World Rugby to make sure rugby remains a sport for all - a sport that says no the intolerance and bigotry that was seen in Cardiff on Saturday night."
As a local representative of IGR in St. Louis, we stand with the organization and Gareth Thomas. Here is our statement in support of both IGR’s call-to-action and Thomas:
“The St. Louis Crusaders stand with International Gay Rugby and Gareth Thomas," said the local team in a statement. "The attack on our fellow rugger is unacceptable and not in the spirit of the game we love. We continue to foster that equality and inclusive spirit to the St. Louis area along with the other six states in our union that do not have an International Gay Rugby team. We believe that everyone should have the chance to experience rugby and sports without the fear of prejudice or discrimination.”