‘There’s nothing wrong with being gay’: England captain Joe Root stands up to ‘abusive’ Shannon Gabriel as West Indies fast bowler is caught up in homophobia storm in third Test
- Tensions boiled over in the final Test between England and the West Indies
- Shannon Gabriel and Joe Root involved in verbal exchange after lunch
- Footage appeared to show Root saying ‘there’s nothing wrong with being gay’
- He later refused to confirm what had provoked his comments
- Referee Jeff Crowe satisfied no homphobic language had been detected
England captain Joe Root has been caught up in a homophobia row with West Indian cricketer Shannon Gabriel after the fast bowler allegedly called him gay during an abusive onfield rant.
Gabriel was warned by the umpires for using foul and abusive language towards Root, who responded to the sledging by saying: ‘Don’t use that as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay’ .
Tensions boiled over in the final Test of the Wisden Trophy but umpires Rod Tucker and Kumar Dharmasena did not lay a charge against West Indies fast bowler Gabriel, believing their on-field intervention was sufficient.
Footage from Sky Sports emerged on social media that appeared to suggest England captain Root made his strong reply to Gabriel in the 44th over of the second innings.
Shannon Gabriel (left) was warned by the umpires for using foul and abusive language
West Indies fast bowler was involved in a verbal exchange with Joe Root after lunch
Sky Sports footage of the incident showed Root telling Gabriel: ‘Don’t use that as an insult’
Root (right) responded quickly to the abuse, shutting Gabriel down with his reply
The England captain refused to confirm what had provoked his comments while match referee Jeff Crowe was satisfied no homophobic language had been detected.
The heated confrontation was not picked up by the stump microphones and West Indies interim coach Richard Pybus responded: ‘Nothing has been reported to me but if a comment was made we’ll review it and if it was untoward then we will be addressing it.’
In St Lucia where the third Test is being played, homosexual activity between men is illegal and can be punished by a prison sentence.
England captain Root was praised by cricket fans on Twitter for his inclusive response
Cricket fans praised Root for his inclusive response, with one calling him a ‘top man’.
Twitter user Rosie Gage said: ‘What a man’.
Root said: ‘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 they might regret, but they should stay on the field.
The heated confrontation on the third day was not picked up by the stump microphones
‘He’s a good guy who plays hard cricket and is proud to be in the position he is.
‘The battle was a good contest, he’s had a wonderful series and he should be proud.’
Root, who hit an unbeaten 111, added: ‘When you play Test cricket there is no such thing as a dead rubber. You have the opportunity to play for your country and it means the world.’
England enjoyed their best batting day of the tour as Root compiled his 16th Test century