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04/19/2007


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

Continue reading "Watch: Australian Olympic Swimmer Stephanie Rice Offers Tearful Apology for Anti-Gay Tweet" »


Australian Olympian Tweets 'Suck on That F*ggots', Loses Sponsor

Rice

Australian Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Rice, who won three gold medals in Beijing 2008 and holds the world record in the 400m indicidual medley, lost a major sponsorship from Jaguar over the weekend for sending out a tweet containing an anti-gay slur, Reuters reports:

"Rice, 22, tweeted 'Suck on that f--gots' after Australia's rugby union team, the Wallabies, defeated South Africa's Springboks on Saturday. The swimmer, who won both individual medleys at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was part of Australia's victorious 4x200 freestyle team, later apologized and removed the comment. 'I made a comment on Twitter on Saturday night in the excitement of the moment. I did not mean to cause offence and I apologize,' she wrote in a blog on her website. But Jaguar Australia general manager Kevin Goult announced that his company has withdrawn its sponsorship."

Along with the sponsorship Rice also loses a $100K Jaguar she had been driving. Her otter sponsor, Sunrice, criticized Rice's statement but made no move to withdraw.

The withdrawal of Jaguar's endorsement came after outrage over the tweet, which Rice deleted.

Perhaps the most vocal anger came from Australian gay rugby icon Ian Roberts.

Said Roberts: "She is an idiot . . . and anyone who continues to endorse her as an athlete is an idiot as well. And I say that with a very sad tone in my voice. What a fool. And if her sponsors don't do something about it, they're fools as well...Ialso like seeing Australians do well. But it is never acceptable to belittle gay people."

Mitcham Gold-winning Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham defended Rice from the criticism, saying he had forgiven her:

"I know she's not homophobic because we are good friends. It was just an extremely poor choice of words. Some people when they use that language don't realise they are causing offence. But it is an issue for a lot of gay people, who get quite upset about it because they have spent so long trying to change people's mentality about these things. I don't find that term very offensive because of my generation but other people do, and you have to consider everyone."

 


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