Rio Ferdinand confesses he used ‘anti-LGBTQ+ slurs’ – but insists he’s changed

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand has admitted using “disgraceful” language about LGBTQ+ people, and says it was his gay sister who “educated” him about respect for queer people.

The former Manchester United player opened up about his regretted past during an interview on This Morning to promote his new three-part documentary series, Tipping Point. 

Tipping Point looks into racism, sexuality and mental health in the world of football. It launches today (11 November) on Amazon Prime Video. 

“On the journey of fulfilment I myself have used language that would be deemed disgraceful today and I had to open up [on the series],” he said on the morning TV show.

This Morning presenter, Phillip Schofield, who came out as gay in 2019, asked Ferdinand if his comment was referring to a gay slur he used against Chris Moyles on air in 2006. He responded yes. 

The incident saw Rio Ferdinand call Moyles a “f****t” after he joked he would prefer dating an ex-Leeds player.

You need to be ‘willing to change’

“I showed my sister this, and my sister is openly gay and her having to grow up listening to language used in our house…it was difficult [for her],” Ferdinand added.

“As family you need to be educated and willing to change and look at the way you behave and use language and allow yourself to be and feel vulnerable in those situations but is here and we have to be open and I don’t understand how people aren’t.”

Schofield also asked if the World Cup in Qatar, which Ferdinand confirmed he will attend, could prevent gay footballers coming out and being their “true selves”.

“I understand people’s concerns, but are we expecting cancel culture to carry over into every topic that we talk about,” Ferdinand replied.

“You have to be in the room and present to try and shift the dial and there is no way you can help educate or change [without being there].

“Of course I am going to go. I think anyone watching these documentaries I’ve done would know where I stand on these issues and I think you cannot stand away from these situations.”

Earlier this week, Qatari World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman doubled down on his comment that homosexuality is “damage in the mind”, but stating the country “will not change” for the tournament.