Italian tennis player Fabio Fognini has apologized for using a homophobic slur during an Olympic tennis match. However, not everyone is convinced of the reasoning.
Fognini repeatedly used an anti-gay slur during his match against Russian player Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday. It was quickly picked up by social media who weren't thrilled with its usage.
Fognini released a message on his Instagram giving his explanation.
On a rainbow background, Fognini explained:
"The heat went to my head! In today's match I used a really stupid expression towards myself."
"Obviously I didn't want to offend anyone's sensibilities. I love the LGBT community and I apologize for the nonsense that came out of me."
It was very hot and humid on the court that day, with Medvedev nearly fainting during the match and using two medical timeouts. He even took a shower between sets.
However, he didn't scream any bigoted slurs.
So why did Fognini?
Fognini is currently ranked 31st in the world and has a reputation for being hot-headed. He was thrown out of a US tournament for repeatedly insulting the umpire.
During his Olympic match with Medvedev, Fognini kept slamming his racket on the ground. He threw it in the trash after losing.
While it's might be expected he get angry, it's less expected one would jump to using a homophobic slur in the heat of the moment if you aren't using it as a regular part of your vocabulary.
Just as with substance abuse and mental illness, heat nor competition add bigoted slurs or behavior to people. They can only lower inhibitions.
Blaming the heat for use of a homophobic slur was a new excuse for many people.
After the complaints and medical issues with playing in the heat, the International Tennis Federation agreed to have future matches later in the day.
This will hopefully allow them to avoid the extreme heat.