Welsh rugby player and former captain of the Wales international rugby union team Gareth Thomas revealed that he was the victim of a homophobic hate crime in his home city of Cardiff.
Thomas, who is openly gay, took to Twitter yesterday to share a video recounting the attack. His face appears to be injured in the video.
“This morning I’ve decided to make what I hope will be a positive video. Last night I was the victim – in my home city – of a hate crime for my sexuality.
“I want to say thank you to the police who were involved and who were very helpful and who allowed me to do restorative justice with the people who did this because I thought they could learn more that way than any other way.
“And [thanks] also to the people of Cardiff who supported me and who helped me, because there are a lot of people out there who want to hurt us, but unfortunately for them, there are a lot more that want to help us heal.”
Restorative justice refers to a judicial system whereby victims are offered the chance to meet and speak with their attackers. Through this practice, Thomas met with the 16-year-old and talked about what he did. The teenager then apologised for his actions.
— Gareth Thomas (@gareththomas14) November 18, 2018
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner added to Thomas’ Twitter thread:
“Rugby legend Gareth Thomas attacked for being gay. He chose to meet with his attacker through a restorative justice programme in order to get answers. I’m rolling out a £1.4m restorative justice programme in the West Mids so victims of crimes can do the same here.”
A spokesperson from South Wales police force said:
“We are aware that a video has been posted on social media by former rugby international Gareth Thomas in relation to a hate crime which happened on the Hayes in Cardiff city centre on Friday 16 November.
“We can confirm a local 16-year old boy was dealt with by way of restorative justice following the incident at around 9 pm.”
International Gay Rugby – the umbrella organisation for the world’s gay and inclusive rugby clubs – released a statement condemning the attack:
“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 to the intolerance and bigotry that was seen in Cardiff on Friday night.”
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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