Drunken clowns, literally, were seen chanting: “Dale Steyn is a Homosexual” as they left Headingley on Day three.
The fans stumbled from the direction of the old Western Terrace, the loudest and drunkest cricket stand in the UK. Yorkshire CCC have tried to clean up the stand, by placing bigger gaps between the rows and upping security presence. But, idiots, will be idiots. And changing the name of the stand, as already proved at the MCG with Bay 13, to the West Stand, was hardly going to discourage people who like chant that certain people are homosexuals.
The footage is from the end of day three. Day four of the Test coincided with Yorkshire’s biggest lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) event – Leeds pride – held in city centre. The theme for this year’s event was sports. The group are also linked with the Wipe out Homophobia in sport group who’s motto is “challenge and report homophobia in sport”.
Perhaps in next years pride event people can dress up as drunken cricket clowns and kiss passionately.
I told the ECB about the footage, and have now sent it on to them and YCCC. Not that, based on this footage, it’s their fault.
An ECB statement said: “We work closely with the ground authorities to create a family-friendly environment in all our international venues and will always thoroughly investigate any complaints received. On this occasion no complaint was made by the South African team, but ECB and the ground authorities do take this issue seriously and reserve the right to eject any spectators who persistently use foul or abusive language towards players.”
There are rumours that the chant was also heard in the West Stand, but after a few phone calls and some tweets, I’ve found no proof of that.
Four years ago, the former New Zealand bowler Iain O’Brien claimed he was taunted and called a faggot by Australian fans at the Gabba. Rather than report it officially, he outed the behaviour on his blog. He also blogged about finding the perfect pair of jeans.
Homosexuality is something cricket has barely dealt with. In several Test playing countries it officially remains a serious crime. Cricket has only one openly gay player, Steve Davies of England and Surrey. Despite Davies’ involvement at Surrey, last summer you could purchase t shirts at The Oval that said: “I think he bats for the other side”, with an arrow pointing in the direction of the person next to you. Martin Crowe once stated publicly he wasn’t gay. Crowe was a very stylish batsman.
Although, perhaps I’ve got all this wrong. Maybe these clowns weren’t saying “Dale Steyn is a homosexual” in a negative way. Perhaps they were saying that he’s so good, he’s clearly gay, because gay is great. Perhaps if he had taken more wickets they might have chanted “Dale Steyn is intersex”, they’re ultimate accolade.
Most importantly, if you know any of these clowns, feel free to bring them down to the South Africa nets, I’m sure Dale Steyn would love to have a bowl at them.
It should be pointed out that I have no interest in Dale Steyn’s love life preferences. He is free to have sex with anyone he pleases, as long as it’s consensual and legal, and that he never films it and lets it end up on the internet.