Boxing Chiefs Betray Lennox Lewis
Mike Tyson's homophobia condemned.
Demand for disciplinary action against those taunting Lewis over his sexuality.
The British Boxing Board of Control is being urged to "condemn the homophobic campaign against world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis " and to push for "disciplinary action against the boxers, managers and promoters who have subjected Lewis to a stream of anti-gay insults".
The call comes from gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell in a letter to the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) General Secretary Simon Block.
"If a white opponent taunted Lewis about his race, he would face disciplinary action", said Tatchell. "The BBBC would never tolerate racism. Why is it tolerating homophobia?"
Tatchell wants homophobic offenders penalised with "a substantial fine and the suspension of their licence to box".
"The BBBC must send a clear signal that bigotry has no place in sport", said Tatchell
The full text of Mr Tatchell's letter to the BBBC follows below.
Simon Block BBBC +44(0) 2920 367 000
General Secretary 5 May 2002
British Boxing Board of Control
Dear Simon Block,
I am writing to urge the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) to publicly condemn the homophobic campaign against world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.
I am further requesting that the BBBC liaise with the international boxing authorities to take disciplinary action against the boxers, managers and promoters who have subjected Lewis to a stream of anti-gay insults over the last nine months.
This disciplinary action should include a substantial fine and the suspension of their licence to box. The BBBC and other boxing authorities must send a clear signal that bigotry has no place in sport.
Continued over/ ... ..
BOXING CHIEFS BETRAY LENNOX LEWIS continued ... .
If a white opponent taunted Lewis about his race, he would face disciplinary action. Why is there one rule for racism and another for homophobia?
In the run-up to his world title fight in November 2001, Lewis was taunted regarding his sexuality by his opponent, Hasim Rahman.
In August 2001, Rahman accused Lewis of a 'gay move' over his legal action to force a rematch between the two fighters. Two days before the world title fight last November, Rahman repeated his insinuations, making an issue of the fact that at the age of 36 Lewis has no children.
The British Boxing Board of Control - together with the World Boxing Council, International Boxing Organisation and International Boxing Federation - did nothing. By your inaction, you colluded with Rahman's vulgar bigotry.
In February this year, after his fracas with Lennox Lewis at their press conference in New York, Mike Tyson poured out a stream of violent homophobic threats.
Tyson said: "I'll fuck you in the arse ... You fucking faggot. I'll fuck you in the arse till you love me, you faggot".
It is appalling that the BBBC and other boxing governing bodies have not taken disciplinary action against Hasim Rahman and Mike Tyson over their disgraceful homophobic rants. Even now, at this late stage, I urge you to do so.
By failing to act against homophobia, the BBBC is giving a green light to prejudice. It would never tolerate racism. Why is it tolerating homophobia?
Click here to return to the Sport Index