GAA referee David Gough explained just why he felt obliged to speak out about the language used on air by RTÉ pundit Colm O'Rourke on Allianz League Sunday.
O'Rourke was heavily criticised by Gough for his use of the phrase "namby, pamby pansy-boy" when speaking about the physical aspects of football.
In a tweet, the All-Ireland football final referee said; "The pejorative use of homophobic language on national TV is abhorrent and unacceptable. I’m disgusted."
Both O’Rourke and Gough spoke afterwards on the matter and speaking on 2fm’s Game On, Gough explained the reasons behind his criticism.
"If you look back at the tweet it was very specific and I took my time in composing it," he said. "I called out what I said was pejorative use of homophobic language, which was meant to be a throw-away remark.
"I’ve know Colm since I was 12-years of age. I went to school where he was my manager at St Pat’s in Navan and he’s been a huge champion of my refereeing and my abilities on the football field over many years.
"I would be the first to say that Colm meant no harm and he’s not homophobic, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it did cause harm to people from the LGBT community and that needs to be recognised.
"I thought it was very unfortunate that it was broadcast on national TV," Gough added.
"I have been lucky enough to survive a very private and a very public coming out over the last nine years and there is almost an obligation on me to ensure that many other people in the LGBT community won’t face those challenges in the future.
"I have been one of those people who have listened to that type of perjorative abuse in dressing rooms and in GAA grounds around Slane, Navan and the country and I thought it was the right thing to do to call it out."
Gough, who has previously spoke about being subjected to homophobic abuse from the stands during games, believes that this incident is something that everyone can learn from.
"Colm may not have known that the language was a homophobic slur but we need to be big enough to say that it is, that we have learned from it and move on," he said.
"Equally I would say that I might not know if someone is suffering from a racist slur or a sectarian slur because I’m not educated in what is offensive to them. But if someone said that to me, I would apologise immediately, learn from it and move on.
"I think that’s the greatest thing we can take out of this, that there is a learning process. People were educated around it and we can just move on from it."
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