This past weekend, a referee in Norway gave a red card to Baerum SK midfielder Simen Juklerod for calling another player “gay” during a match between Baerum and Sandnes Ulf in the Norwegian first division.
Often in these situations, the accused pretends that’s he’s been wronged, misunderstood or, like Luis Suárez, misinterpreted. But not Juklerod. He keeps it real. Juklerod was actually accused of calling an opposing player a “fucking gay,” and admitted to using the slur, saying, “There was a second I was not thinking, and said the second word, yes. And of course it’s completely lame. But I still think that’s not a red card.” Juklerod denied using the word “fucking.”
Norway’s head of referees, Terje Hauge, noted that the referees committee had previously discussed sending players off for using homophobic slurs. “It is something that’s been discussed several times after an incident a couple of years ago when a yellow card was given in a similar situation,” he said. “We’ve told our referees that if they hear it clearly and there is no doubt about what’s been said then it should be punished with a red card.”
And so it was.
Juklerod’s club issued a statement on Twitter:
“We don’t accept our players calling others gay or anything like that. A lot of crap is said during games, but we have zero tolerance for that.”
”It was unfortunate that it was said and we will take the criticism for the incident. The case will be handled internally.“
This is a move in the right direction. Maybe one day we’ll get to a point where sexual orientation isn’t an insult. Until then, I suppose we’re supposed to be praying or something.