Former Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas in hate crime assault for being gay
LONDON – Former Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas said on Sunday that he had been the victim of a homophobic assault in Cardiff.
Thomas, who played 100 times for Wales and captained the British and Irish Lions in two of his three appearances for the side, came out as gay in 2009 while still actively playing.
He was attacked in the Welsh capital by a 16-year-old boy who admitted assault, police said.
Thomas posted a video on Twitter in which he had marks on the left side of his face and head.
“I was the victim, in my home city, of a hate crime for my sexuality,” said Thomas, who played for Toulouse and Cardiff Blues.
“I want to say thank you to the police, who were involved, and were very helpful and allowed me to do restorative justice with the people that did this, because I thought they could learn more that way than any other way.
“And also to the people of Cardiff who supported me and helped me.
“There’s a lot of people out there who want to hurt us.
“But, unfortunately for them, there’s a lot more that want to help us heal. So this, I hope, will be a positive message.”
Thomas, who retired in 2011, has since campaigned on gay rights issues.
In a statement, South Wales Police said they were aware of Thomas’ video “in relation to a hate crime which happened” in central Cardiff.
“A local 16-year-old boy was dealt with by way of restorative justice following the incident.
“Restorative justice was at the request of Mr Thomas, and accepted by the teenager, who admitted assault and was apologetic for his actions.”
The police force said restorative justice was about “finding positive solutions to crime”, and encouraging young people to be accountable for the consequences of their actions.