Rugby fans have come out in support of former referee Nigel Owens, after he shared a handwritten letter he received, containing abhorrent homophobic abuse. In a Twitter post sharing a photo of the letter, he said, “I’ve thought long and hard about posting this letter I received in the post a few weeks ago, signed by a ‘Steel Worker PT.’ But unless we start calling out these kinds of people, nothing will change. It hurts and there is no need for all this hate.”
The letter reads: “The bible says ‘man shall not lie with man nor woman with woman, it is an abomination’ … What do you think AIDS is? It is God’s punishment to the sodomites. Forget that people accept you because they don’t.” It continues by attacking rugby legend Gareth Thomas, writing, “The same goes for Gareth Thomas. His teammates think he is disgusting. He too is being punished by God.” Thomas came out as gay in 2009 and announced in 2019 that he is HIV Positive.
I’ve thought long and hard about posting this letter I received in the post a few weeks ago singed by a Steel Worker PT. But unless we start calling out these kind of people nothing will change. It hurts and there is no need for all this hate. #BeKind pic.twitter.com/ocRBSHucr4
— Nigel Owens MBE (@Nigelrefowens) November 22, 2022
This comes only days after Nigel Owens was temporarily banned from Facebook after he shared a screenshot of homophobic abuse he received in a separate incident. He took to Twitter earlier this week to explain how he was blocked from the social media platform for 30 days after posting a message he received on Instagram containing homophobic slurs.
Detailing what had happened, he wrote: “I shared a post on Facebook of someone who was posting homophobic comments at me, and Facebook have blocked ME for 30 days. Not the person who was actually posting the homophobic comments. Unbelievable. And now I can’t contact Facebook to explain.” He shared the message he received, which read: “F*** you Nigel, you should stay out of South African rugby games… we have not time to hear options from f*****s like you.”
After Owens made the post about the letter, fans came out almost immediately in support, with some even writing their own letters, instead showing their admiration for the former referee. A representative from Oxford Quins RFC wrote: “Thank you for being an amazing person, a great ref and a champion for equality.
“We would like to reward you for all that you have done and continue to do, by inviting you to lunch at our club where you will be welcomed and celebrated!
“Yours, Everyone at Oxford Quins RFC.”
— Jack Pooler 💙 (@JackPooler) November 22, 2022
Gareth Thomas, who was also named in the letter, also replied to the tweet, writing: “He’s a serial writer butt, he writes those kinds of letters to everyone, good on you for calling him out.”
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