The simple but hugely important gesture made by cricketer Joe Root 8 months ago

The simple but hugely important gesture made by cricketer Joe Root

Must be applauded.

In a test match between the West Indies and England recently, English captain Joe Root publicly rebuked West Indies fast-bowler Shannon Gabriel for an ill-judged homophobic sledge by saying: "Don’t use that as an insult… there’s nothing wrong with being gay."

Gabriel received a four-match ban for his comments and Root has been praised for his response to the incident.

Irish Director John Butler was the guest on Ireland Unfiltered this week and he spoke about his career, coming out as gay and he also spoke about the incident between Root and Gabriel during his conversation with host Dion Fanning.

Butler explained that while some may see it as a small thing not worth being applauded, the fact it was such a small thing and not a grand gesture makes it a big deal.

You can read what he had to say below.

Dion: You look at something recently like Joe Root the cricketer. That seems to be a very small thing in some ways, and some people said that our bar is so low that he’s being applauded for this. But at the same time, for somebody in his position to confidently say that has to be seen as a good thing.

John: I think it’s great, and I think, if this isn’t a contradiction, I think how small it was is the biggest thing about it. The fact that he said ‘Don’t use that’, there was no grandstanding on his part. There was no four-page spread in a magazine where he made the declaration that he likes or isn’t opposed to the LGBT experience.

He just threw that away as a line, and in the context of sledging where everything is on the table in terms of abuse, just to say that in the way he did, I thought it was great. It’s important stuff that.

You can watch the interview in full below.

Ireland Unfiltered, brought to you in partnership with Carlsberg Unfiltered, will be available everywhere you get your podcasts and on YouTube every Tuesday.