Sportspeople should face an instant ban if they insult gay people or are racist, a British Olympic diver has said.
Jack Laugher made the comments in an interview for gay glossy mag GT where he says fellow Team GB divers Tom Daley and Chris Mears are ‘handsome lads’, explaining this gives Daley in particular a big gay fanbase.
And he said holding the Winter Olympics in Russia in 99 days time is a ‘problem’.
It’s the first LGBTI press interview for Laugher, aged 18, from Harrogate in North Yorkshire, England.
Speaking to Benjamin Butterworth of GT (Gay Times), Laugher said of homophobia: ‘Sport should take it more seriously.
‘It should be absolute – if you say something that can be offensive and someone could take offence, like racism, insulting gay people should be an instant ban or some kind of penalty so it just doesn’t happen.
‘Any sport you should be able to be openly gay in. I have quite a few gay friends, just from school and people I’ve met through diving and my journey. Everyone should feel comfortable to be gay and be who they are.
‘With diving it doesn’t really matter – you’ve got the middle-aged women and young girls anyway, and then gay men. That’s the entire fan base, and that following would be supportive.’
And he talked about the LGBTI ‘propaganda’ ban in Russia and the International Olympic Committee’s own rules, both of which may stop athletes from supporting gay Russians during the Sochi 2014 games.
He said: ‘There’s definitely a lot of pressure not to say bad things about the Olympics, or any of the people or other athletes.
‘You cannot slag off another athlete or anything, and the actual Olympics are great – it’s where it is that’s the problem.’
Laugher is also best mates with Daley, Britain’s favorite diver and a bronze medalist at London 2012. In 2012 In 2012 Laugher became the Junior World champion in both the 3m springboard and 3m synchro competition with Daley.
He said: ‘Tom Daley is nice and tanned, and that draws in quite a gay following!
‘Tom’s poses are pretty questionable though! At the end of the day people might laugh at them, but if I do well I can laugh back! Tom and Chris [Mears] both look good. So good. They’re very handsome lads.’
Laugher represented Team GB at the London 2012 games but failed to make it to the semi-final stage.