Footballer Rio Ferdinand Under Fire for “Faggot” Comment

Rio_ferdinandManchester United player Rio Ferdinand (seen here with teammate Cristiano Ronaldo on a tour bus this week in Lisbon) ruffled some feathers during a BBC radio show today when he referred to the radio host as a “faggot”.

“Ferdinand made the comment live on air after Moyles quizzed him over which of two Manchester United team-mates, Alan Smith and Paul Scholes, was more attractive. ‘If you had to, who would you rather go out with – Smudger or Scholesy?’ Moyles asked in a reference to the two players’ nicknames. ‘That is not my bag that, that is not my game, talking about going out with geezers,’ replied Ferdinand. When Moyles jokingly suggested he would prefer Smith, Ferdinand told him: ‘You’re a faggot.’ A Radio 1 spokeswoman said it had received two complaints about the exchange. As others in the studio expressed shock, the England defender said: ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m not homophobic.'”

Paul Scholes, one of the players Moyles and Ferdinand had been discussing, recently came under fire for calling a referee a “poofter.”

While Outrage UK activist Peter Tatchell expressed dismay over the Scholes comment, Ferdinand’s was met with a softer approach: “Even as a joke, homophobic quips are just as unacceptable as racist ones but since Rio Ferdinand very promptly apologised, I am happy to accept his regret and leave it at that.”

BBC plays down Moyles ‘faggot’ row [guardian uk]


  1. says

    I never understood why there is so much macho posturing in sports. Some athletes go out of their way to look ignorant and degrade women and gays just to prove their point, but what kind of point is that to want proven about yourself?

    So, if the question was instead of a racial nature and Ferdinand replied with a racial term of negative connotation–but then quickly apologized–it’s still water under the bridge and let’s forget about it?

    If you’re not homophobic, don’t act like it. If you’re not racist or superficial or vain or bigoted or sexist or chauvanist–don’t act like it. Why are the rest of us held to those standards, but not athletes?

  2. anon says

    By “geezer”, did he mean someone old or something else?

    Why would a sportscaster ask a strange hypothetical comment to a player regarding the date-ability of teammates? Is the intention to annoy or to get some sort of funny response? What would be a funny response?

  3. Leo says

    In response to Anon, in the UK “geezer” is the equivalent of the word “dude”, rather than a reference to an old person. Also, these comments were made on a music radio breakfast show, rather than an interview with a sports journalist. Rio should have expected irreverent questions from Chris Moyles.

  4. 111111 says

    Amen 000000. I’m beyond tired of the fawning over these dumb as a sack of hair hetero athletes. As gay men, why are we giving them undeserved attention? Oh yeah, cause we’re men…

  5. says

    OK, if you are a interviewing a straight athlete in this day and age and ask such an idiotic question, the very *least* of your issues is that someone may call you ‘faggot’.

    In fact, I wouldn’t have blamed Ferdinand if he’d done much worse. It was an understandable knee-jerk response on Ferdinand’s part and I think the apology he gave should close the issue. In fact, the interviewer probably should have apologized for asking the question to begin with.

    I’m not a bible thumper, but “As ye sow, so shall ye reap” certainly applies here.

  6. Maxwell. says

    We should obviously blame matthew sheppard for coming onto those guys that beat him to death.

    After all, if you attempt to entice heteros, you should expect them to beat the fuck out of you.

    I mean, can you really blame them for pistol whipping him and leaving him to die of exposure? He really was asking for it.

  7. steve says

    “A Radio 1 spokeswoman said it had received two complaints about the exchange.”

    LOL either that radio show doesn’t have many listeners or not many people really cared.

    The Man United team has become very homophobic since the departure of queer friendly David Beckham.

    Sorry, i just take any chance i can to mention David hmmmmmm

  8. Ian says

    If someone starts asking you whether you find your teammates attractive, it’s tantamount to calling you a poof/faggot (UK/US term). The usual straight football/soccer (UK+Rest of the world/US) reaction, particularly after a few beers, would be to hit the questioner. I imagine the radio host was doing this after the Paul Scholes’ incident and to get Ferdinand to make the mistake he did.

    Yes, Ferdinand probably does use this language as he’s part of that lads’/jocks (UK/US) culture, which is endemic, if not right. But at least he apologised straight afterwards.

    His comments were provoked (Ferdinand is NOT the brightest of players). And yes, it’s a pejorative term. But I still can’t help worrying about where we draw the line from reacting to over-reacting. There is such a thing as free speech (just about).

  9. EM says

    I think that’s it. Ferdinand is none too bright. UK footballers are basically airheads, mainly the equivalent of the ditzy blonde Paris Hilton of the US socialite scene, only more aggressive and less likely to wave their skunk around in public.

  10. EM says

    Another point,

    There are at leats (acc. to Tachell) three top Premiership footie players whop are gay and who are still too scared of homophobia on the terraces to come out.

    Although the UK has been progressive in many respects, lad’s sports like football is still very sexist and homophobic. Other sports not so much. Lad’s ‘banter’ will always happen, fact of life, but UK sport in general has worked to try and stamp out racism, sexism and homophobia in recent years. There will always be plebs that will stay plebs though. Unfortunately most of those are to be found within football and its supporters.

Leave A Reply