Oxford City sack Lee Steele for homophobic tweet

Lee Steele
Image caption Lee Steele wrote the tweet about former Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas

A footballer who posted a homophobic remark on a social media website has been sacked by his club.

Oxford City striker Lee Steele made a comment on Twitter about the gay former Wales rugby player Gareth Thomas.

Tweeting about Thomas's appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, Steele, 38, wrote a "strongly-worded" message about being in a bed near the contestant.

Oxford City manager Mike Ford said: "On this occasion Lee's had to pay for his error of judgement."

'Role model'

Mr Ford said calling the player to tell him he was sacked had been the toughest thing he had ever done in football but he felt that the Southern-Premier League club had made the right decision.

He added: "He's made a homophobic comment, that doesn't necessarily mean he's homophobic."

The former England rugby union international Ben Cohen has set up a foundation to combat homophobia and bullying.

Speaking to BBC Oxford earlier this week, he said: "If you are a sportsman you're a role model and people look up to you no matter what division you're in."

But he stopped short of calling for Mr Steele to be sacked, saying it should have been a lesson learnt.

Mr Steele has declined to make any comment since the tweet was published.

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