Idrissa Gueye — a Muslim soccer player for French team Paris Saint-Germain — refused to wear a jersey adorned with rainbow-colored numbers in support of an LBGTQ agenda and sat out his team's 4-0 Saturday win against Montpellier, the Daily Mail reported.
Now, one activist group wants an investigation, and others want Gueye punished.
What are the details?
The Daily Mail said players across France wore the special jerseys over the weekend in solidarity with the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, which takes place Tuesday.
Gueye's manager Mauricio Pochettino said the player's absence from the match was for "personal reasons, but he is not injured," the outlet added.
But the Daily Mail, citing French outlet RMC Sport, said Gueye was out because he didn't want to wear the jersey with rainbow colors; the Daily Mail added that its sports news section has contacted Gueye's representatives for comment.
'Homophobia is not an opinion but a crime'
Rouge Direct — which the Daily Mail said fights against homophobia in sport — is calling for action and wants the French League and Gueye's team to find out why he missed the game.
"Homophobia is not an opinion but a crime," Rouge Direct tweeted Sunday. "The [league] and the [team] must ask ... Gueye to explain [himself] and very quickly. And punish him if necessary."
President of the France LGBT+ Sports Federation Eric Arassus told RMC Sport that Gueye "is a great player, but religion is not a part of the sport. Every player took part [in the rainbow jersey initiative] except him. He should be sanctioned. Gueye’s excuses show that the club [PSG] and league let homophobia happen," the Daily Mail said.
Gueye, 32, regularly shares messages about his faith on social media, the outlet added.
L’Equipe newspaper reported that Gueye missed last season's match during which the rainbow jerseys were worn due to gastroenteritis, the Associated Press said.
How have others reacted?
Reactions on Twitter to Gueye sitting out the game seemed mixed, though it seems, so far, most folks support his decision:
- "Idrissa Gueye is Muslim. He has never (not to anyone's knowledge) mistreated or discriminated against any member of the LBGTQ community," one user said. "Forcing him to be a poster boy for a something against his faith, however, is very disrespectful, borderline Islamophobic even."
- "He has every right not wear some stupid LGBTQ+ flag on his [jersey] ... what happened to freedom of choice?" another user asked. "Why are these devils trying to shove it down everyone’s throat ... Massive Respect Idrissa Gueye ... I’m now a fan."
- "Hope more footballers are like Idrissa Gueye," another user said. "We should never allow people to shove their extreme and insane ideology down in our throats."
Still, some others don't see it that way:
- "Disappointing to see so many PSG fans defending or even supporting Idrissa Gueye after his decision not to play because he’s a homophobe," another user declared. "If you’re one of the ones supporting his stance, please block and unfollow me please. I don’t want anything to do with you."
- "If I was PSG, Idrissa Gueye would never play another game," another user said.
- "I've seen far too much support for Idrissa Gueye on here for my liking. That whole incident has been a catalyst for thousands to actually admit they have an issue with LGBTQ rights. A lot of them are cowardly hiding behind religion to get away with bigotry, too," another user noted. "It's shameful."