West Indies star charged over alleged 'homophobic' slur

The International Cricket Council has charged West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel after he was accused by England captain Joe Root of making a homophobic comment.

In the third Test in St. Lucia on Monday, Root was picked up on a broadcast feed saying to Gabriel: “Don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”

The preceding comment by Gabriel could not be heard on the clip posted by British broadcaster Sky Sports.

The ICC said Tuesday that Gabriel had been charged with a breach of its code of conduct.

Gabriel and Root. Image: Getty

The governing body tweeted that “the charge, which was laid by match umpires, will now be dealt with by match referee Jeff Crowe.”

Root wins praise for measured response

Root has been praised by Stonewall, a leading UK equality charity, for challenging Gabriel.

Kirsty Clarke, director of sport at Stonewall – which campaigns for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality – told Press Association Sport: “Language is really influential and it’s great if Joe Root was willing to challenge potentially abusive comments.

“The more players, fans, clubs and organisations that stand up for equality in sport, the sooner we kick discrimination out and make sport everyone’s game.

“Stonewall research shows more than half of British people (58 per cent) believe it’s important anti-LGBT language is challenged at live sporting events.”

Gabriel had to be ushered away by teammates. Image: Getty

Former England captain Nasser Hussain, in St Lucia in his role as a television commentator, tweeted his admiration for Root’s stance.

“I don’t know who said what to whom…but boy do I applaud Joe Root’s reaction here,” Hussain wrote.

“For me his twelve words as a role model will be in the end more important than a Test hundred or possible victory.”

Speaking after finishing day three 111 not out, Root gave a measured assessment of the on-field exchange.

“It’s Test cricket, he’s an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a Test match… sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field,” he said.

West Indies head coach Richard Pybus, speaking at close of play, told BBC Radio’s Test Match Special: “Nothing has been reported to me but if a comment was made we’ll review it and if it was untoward we’ll be addressing it.”

with agencies