English cricketer Ben Stokes saved two gay men caught up in a homophobic attack last month (September).
The pair of friends, Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell, said Stokes was defending them against abuse.
O’Connell told the Sun: ‘We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero.
‘If Ben hadn’t intervened, it could have been a lot worse for us,’ O’Connell said.
Video footage emerged of Stokes punching the attackers, but it looked like he was the aggressor.
As a result, he was arrested and spent the night in the cells. He was also suspended indefinitely by the England cricket team.
When Barry and O’Connell became aware of the incdient, they rushed to his defence, telling their side of the story.
The pair say Stokes actually spoke to them in a local club before the incident occurred. In fact, he bought them Jägerbombs but they had no idea who he was.
They were all in Bristol’s Clifton Triangle on a Sunday night at about 11pm. The pair got to talking to Stokes and his friend and teammate Alex Hales.
Barry said: ‘I chat to everyone and they were quite fit so we partied with them for a bit.’
Homophobic incident in the club
The pair remember a homophobic incident in the club, before the one involving Ben Stokes.
They were dancing as they heard someone call them ‘batty boys’ – a derogatory term for gay people. Barry said: ‘Apparently the bouncer had a word with some men and told them not to speak like that.’
Then when Stokes asked where the good places to party were, they tried another club but it was closed.
That’s when the infamous incident happened.
The testimony from the two gay men could lead to Stokes cleared of all charges and allowed to play in Australia next month.
On why the pair didn’t come forward earlier, they said they were scared after the incident and walked off.
Barry said: ‘Towards the end of the fight it all got a bit scary so we walked off.
‘It was too much for me and we went to Quigleys takeaway for chicken burgers and cheesy chips.
‘If you ever see fights you let it pass. It’s just Bristol town. You see it every night you go out,’ he said.