French basketball star apologises for anti-gay slur following European tournament match

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

French professional basketball player Tony Parker has apologised after using an anti-gay slur during a press conference following a game between France and Spain.

Speaking of France’s performance against Spain in the semifinals of the EuroBasket 2013 tournament, Parker, a San Antonio Spurs player said France had been playing like “tapettes” during the first half.

The French word loosely translates into “fairy” or “fag”.

He said: “I’d like to apologise to the gay community. I did not want to offend them. If I have offended the gay community, I apologise. It was not my intention at all. It is not right to say what I said I’m sorry. And apologise.”

France went on to beat Lituania in Sunday’s final for its first European title.

Worth noting is the fact that Parker congratulated US basketball star Jason Collins, who became the first professional player in a major US team sport to come out as gay earlier this year.

Parker tweeted at the time: “Really hope people will RESPECT Jason Collins for his decision to come out. Just glad he can now relax and not be afraid to be who he is.”

Collins in May spoke about his sexuality, confirming he is gay in an article in Sports Illustrated magazine. He said: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

A poll revealed that over two-thirds of Americans support Collins’ decision to come out as gay.

After coming out, the star was subject to a tirade of abuse on the social networking site Twitter, including a number of death threats.

Despite some abusive messages, Collins received thousands of messages of support, including from President Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, his teammates, coaches, the Commissioner of the NBA, and countless others.

Jason since appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show with twin brother Jarron, who joked that he had missed “red flags” that his brother was gay, and was given a t-shirt which said “I’m the straight one”.