English footballer Jamie Jardy of Leicester City apologized after the negative repercussions of him destroying a rainbow-colored flag on the Rainbow Laces field in a game against Sheffield United last December 6. On that occasion, he scored a goal that guaranteed victory for his team and during the celebration, he went to the flag and ended up destroying it.
As a way of portraying what happened, Vardy sent the damaged flag to Foxes Pride, which is a group of LGBT fans from Leicester City, writing: “Pride of the foxes, keep up the good work”.
How it started. How it’s going. pic.twitter.com/D7GImCD4om
— Foxes Pride 🦊🏳️🌈 (@FoxesPride) December 8, 2020
The flag was placed to promote the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ fans and also to celebrate the Rainbow Laces Day. Vardy’s act was seen by a portion of homophobic fans as a form of repudiation of LGBT people, and his attitude ended up generating a lot of controversy on social networks.
According to Sky Sports channel, there was a very significant number of homophobic comments that praised the player’s attitude. In response, Foxes Pride said:
“All of us at Foxes Pride are saddened by the LGBTphobic comments in the last few days after Vardy destroyed the flag during a celebration” – they said on Twitter – “We are proud and very grateful for the support that Vardy and Leicester City FC continues to provide to Rainbow Laces, LGBT fans and Foxes Pride,”he concluded.
The group president, Graeme Smith, says that Vardy’s gesture is important for inclusion in sport: “This Vardy’s gesture highlights the inclusive culture in our football club. We are proud to be able to partner with them, not just for Rainbow Laces, but throughout the year.”
In England, Rainbow Laces Day was celebrated on December 9th, with sports fans spreading the phrase “Make sport a game for everyone” on social media. The day exists precisely to make the population aware of homotransphobia within sport and also to make the environment more inclusive.