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Watch: Australian Olympic Swimmer Stephanie Rice Offers Tearful Apology for Anti-Gay Tweet

Rice

Australian medal-winning swimmer Stephanie Rice held a press conference yesterday to apologize for a tweet she posted ("suck on that faggots - probs the best game I've ever seen - well done boys") following a rugby game. The anti-gay slur in the tweet ignited a firestorm, and caused her to lose a major sponsor, Jaguar.

Said Rice at the presser

"My comments were thoughtless and careless but I can assure you when I made those comments on Twitter I never intended to offend anybody," she told a specially convened news conference in Sydney. I've learned a lot in the last couple of days. I've learned I must think before I speak and this has been a very important lesson. I've also learned that some things you say can mean more to others than they do to you...I felt I've let a lot of people down. I just want people to know how sorry I am. I'm just here to gain people's trust back and show how out of character it was."

Gay Olympic  diver Matthew Mitcham came to Rice's defense on twitter

"I agree, it was offensive & very thoughtless, but being friends with her for 2yrs, I know she is not homophobic...She meant no malice, & she has apologised for her careless comment posted in the excitment of the moment....That's enough for me to forgive a friend...She's not a homophobe. She luvs gays but used very ill-chosen language...I don't in any way support or condone WHAT she said, but her apology & remorse is genuine & we are gd friends."

Watch 10 News' report on the presser and their interview with gay former rugby star Ian Roberts, AFTER THE JUMP...

Roberts

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Comments

  1. I don't buy these microwaved apologies.
    That kind of remark just doesn't hatch out of nowhere. And it seems to me ppl like her are more sorry to lose their endorsement deals then 'IF I offended anyone'. Bitch, You DID offend and I don't care how fast you get your gay athelete to cover your back.

    Posted by: LG Wilson | Sep 8, 2010 7:26:10 AM


  2. She didn't say "IF", she said she did. She's young and using language that young people use without thinking. I think she's more than seen the error of her ways. There was no malice in her choice of words and her apology is genuine. Jesus Christ, what is everyone so up in arms about?

    I wonder how people would react if she didn't apologize, probably call for a lynching.

    Posted by: Nicholas | Sep 8, 2010 7:34:30 AM


  3. How did she NOT mean to offend anyone? She was using the remark to belittle opponents and the worst thing she could think of to call someone was "faggot". She deserved to lose her sponsorship at the least! I hope she loses any gay friends she had as well. Apparently she won't lose Matthew though. I'm really surprised by him. He's known her all of two years and he thinks he knows her well enough to support her apology? She's only apologizing because it bit her in her homophobic ass!

    Posted by: Michael | Sep 8, 2010 7:40:07 AM


  4. I understand the need to belittle opponents by calling them names but why couldn't she have used "suckers" or "losers" or "motherfuckers"? Those are effective adjectives without being specific to a group of people. In her mind, the worst thing to call someone is a "faggot" and her tears and apology mean nothing to me. Shame on Matthew for so readily coming to her defense. Ian Roberts has the right idea.

    Posted by: Michael W. | Sep 8, 2010 7:47:24 AM


  5. "I'm really surprised by him. He's known her all of two years and he thinks he knows her well enough to support her apology"

    They both went to the Olympics together, which is a pressure cooker, and brings people very close. I'm sorry he didn't live up to your high personal standards, but don't tell me you've never had a friend say or do something stupid so you broke off the friendship.

    I think everyone has realised that Rice's tweet was moronic and offensive, including Rice herself, so its time to move on.

    "And it seems to me ppl like her"

    I didn't realise you knew her so well.

    Posted by: Clifw | Sep 8, 2010 7:50:35 AM


  6. She was idiotic. Not homophobic. The difference between the two may merit discussion, but the difference remains nonetheless.

    Posted by: shanesoho | Sep 8, 2010 7:54:21 AM


  7. Matthew knows her personally, so why wouldn't he come to her defense, she's his friend. And that's what friends do.

    And I'm pretty sure he has a better idea of what kind of person she is than any of us do.

    Sometimes I swear that we in the gay community just like being angry for no reason.

    If this chick really ruined your day, then your seriously pathetic.

    She apologized and meant it, everyone find a hobby. Gosh.

    Posted by: Asher | Sep 8, 2010 7:54:21 AM


  8. while I agree she USED a Poor choice of (word)....esp. since "Thats so Gay" is Over-used as well.....but she'd have a Big apologoy too IF she called everyone "N"grs....I dont know- she sounded sincere..but yet, women tend to cry sooo easily too...I say - let it go and move on...

    Posted by: Disgusted Gay American | Sep 8, 2010 7:59:00 AM


  9. If we don't start becoming more militant when people casually throw around terms like "faggot" or "that's so gay", then they'll just keep on doing it like there's nothing wrong with it. I'm glad she was so ashamed that she had to cry like an actress at a press conference.

    Posted by: Michael W. | Sep 8, 2010 8:03:48 AM


  10. Money talks. This is the second story I read today where someone who has said something hateful and then says I have gay friends. I understand that she apologized. but I have seen too many friends beaten or arrested for just going into a gay bar in my day. I guess I am torn, because the one way people change is to get to know us and for us to show them love, even if they do make idiotic remarks. I just wish money wasn't involved here and I would believe it much better.

    Posted by: queenzafrona | Sep 8, 2010 8:07:35 AM


  11. I think she's getting everything she deserves. And this hackneyed "I have gay friends" garbage is even more insulting, because that means she really doesn't pay attention to what's important to them. Stupid, stupid bitch.

    Posted by: Joey Y | Sep 8, 2010 8:09:00 AM


  12. @Joey Y: Exactly!

    Posted by: Michael W. | Sep 8, 2010 8:15:21 AM


  13. Why are gay people defending this woman AND her comments. What the fuck is "thoughtless and careless" about saying "suck on that faggots"? That's pretty much a homophobic remark by definition. Her team mate can says she's not homophobic all he likes but her words prove him wrong.

    Hang her? No. Give her a pass? Hell no.

    Posted by: justiceontherocks | Sep 8, 2010 8:25:56 AM


  14. I've done something similar in the past, so I know what it's like to use a term that carries a lot of offense in a public sphere. I'm not an Olympic swimmer who used to be one half of a tabloid-darling-relationship, so I only had to apologise to about a half dozen people, but that action still severed any ties I had to that community. Hopefully Stephanie will turn her regret (which I do not doubt is sincere) into a charge to become a gay advocate and work to redeem herself, instead of letting a misunderstanding get in the way of her relationship to a gay fan base.

    Coincidentally, a few weeks ago I encountered an American twenty-something who used the F word to refer to a queer person in his presence. Of the two gay people and one bi person who heard him, none of us became angry or confronted him about the use. One of us even said that he didn't mind it. It was the straight ally with us who stormed off and later chewed the young man out over it. I can see how a young person can get mixed messages about the use of offensive language.

    Posted by: Kuhnsy | Sep 8, 2010 8:34:05 AM


  15. Bitch please!

    Posted by: Jack M | Sep 8, 2010 8:36:05 AM


  16. had her favorite rugby team beaten a mostly black team, and had she said, "suck on this, niggers." everyone would be appalled. i am so sick of celebrities and sports stars using the word faggot then pleading ignorance and begging forgiveness when they are called on their shit. and, i am more surprised that gay boys like matthew mitcham are so ready to forgive. he claims that his acceptance of the term is due to his being a member of a younger generation. to the contrary, he should be even more offended, or what was all our (the older generation's) work for? i've lost more than a little respect for him.

    Posted by: nic | Sep 8, 2010 8:48:18 AM


  17. "Aww, she's so pretty and we look so bad for overreacting at her innocent little bit of smack talk."

    Too bad.

    Our 'F'-word is just as toxic as the 'N'-word, and the 4 letter 'C'-word.

    Permanent loss of the Jaguar loan & endorsement sends the right message.

    Posted by: jexer | Sep 8, 2010 9:28:20 AM


  18. Shut up faggots. You have bigger fish to fry so quick aiming for the easiest prey or you'll get nowhere in life.

    Posted by: Jubal Harshaw | Sep 8, 2010 10:17:28 AM


  19. Story just got an eye-roll from me. It's stupid and a little hurtful that the worst thing she could think to call someone was a gay slur.

    Though I will give Ms. Rice credit where credit is due. At least when she used the "I have gay friends" defense, she was able to dig up at least one gay friend for us to meet. Which is more than I can say for the current, "I have gay friends so it's okay when I make calls for violence against them" teabaggers who probably can't even find a self-loathing pseudo-closeted conserva-gay to come to their defense.

    Posted by: JT | Sep 8, 2010 10:35:26 AM


  20. @Jubal Harshaw

    Bigger fish to fry? Like changing attitudes toward gay people to overcome hateful legislation and acts of violence? I'd say this falls right into that category of "changing attitudes."

    Posted by: LightningBoalt | Sep 8, 2010 10:36:32 AM


  21. I buy her apology as being genuine. Homophobic phrases have been so overwhelming in the media and so commonly used within society for the past few decades (with the exception of the past few years) that these phrases become programmed into people's brains as automatic responses.

    While her move was quite stupid and very insensitive, especially for someone in the public's eye, and I hate people using the 'f' word, I think it was more about her tweeting an automatic response and a case of not thinking about what she was saying. I agree with Mitcham in that regard.

    Anyways, she has suffered enough for her actions by losing her major sponsor and she went through the task of apologizing and breaking down in the press conference. She has paid her dues in my eyes. On the bright side maybe this situation will shed more light on how inappropriate the 'f' word is by putting it out there in the media.

    Posted by: TheOtherMark | Sep 8, 2010 11:16:29 AM


  22. Here's a newsflash for Matt and others who seem to be under the misimpression that you know the level of a friend's homophobia by judging the way they've treated you when you were happy and friendly and all was well between you. That's NOT when you get to know if a person has underlying homophobia or not. I've learned this from personal experience with "friends" and tenants and acquaintances. The homophobia never shows when all is well. It's when you have a falling out, a fight with them that you get a true sense of whether they are homophobic or not. They have no reason to use homophobic slurs with you when all is well. If Matt has had a major row with Stephanie and she didn't resort to homophobic slurs then maybe he has authority to speak on whether or not she has homophobic tendencies, but if not he really wouldn't know.

    And is she REALLY trying to convince us that she didn't mean ANY offense, ANY malice with the statement? Really? She didn't mean offense to the South African players? She meant "Suck on that faggots" in a warm, fuzzy, cuddly "Great game boys" sort of way?

    I can only wonder if some of you would be so forgiving had she used another slur?

    I'm sure the fear of losing more sponsors was the major factor in her contrition. Why did she not remove the Tweet on her own, immediately after posting it? Why did she wait for a firestorm before doing so? Why did she offer such a half-assed apology and then wait a week to make a more sincere sounding one, probably written by her PR man?

    I think she should be forgiven but I also think she should figure out why she resorts to anti-gay slurs when she's looking for the worst insult she can think of. And though we should accept sincere apologies, we should also stop telling people that it's OK and making excuses for people's unacceptable behavior. Some of you had her forgiven before she ever even retracted the statement. If we don't have SOME spine and some self-respect we certainly can't expect anyone else to respect us!

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Sep 8, 2010 11:45:20 AM


  23. Stephanie Rice,

    fuck off bitch!

    Posted by: Matt | Sep 8, 2010 12:01:51 PM


  24. KUHNSY, you should be ashamed of yourself for being so spineless and not speaking up for yourself and others when confronted with an anti-gay slur. Shame on you for sitting silent and having a straight person fight your battles. No wonder straight people in YOUR circle are confused and have no respect for gay people. I wouldn't have any respect for you either.

    Posted by: Terrence | Sep 8, 2010 12:04:40 PM


  25. And how many of us refer to women as bitches? Pot, kettle.

    Posted by: BGKev | Sep 8, 2010 12:14:24 PM


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