The Croatian Supreme Court has ruled that Vlatko Markovic, former president of the country’s football federation, must publicly apologize for calling gay people unhealthy and saying he’d never allow a gay player in his league.
At a press conference back in 2010, Markovic was asked if he knew about any gay players in Croatia. ‘No, fortunately football is only played by healthy people,” said Markovic, 75. “As long as I am president, I won’t permit any gay footballers.”
A number of Croatian LGBT groups sued Markovic, who left football in July 2012, under the country’s anti-discrimination laws. In its ruling on Tuesday, the court banned Markovic from making any further derogatory comments and ordered him to publish its ruling in local papers at his own expense.
Maybe it’s because we’re American and hung up on the First Amendment but we rankle at the idea of someone being taken to court for essentially just being a jerk. This wasn’t a case of a player suing Markovic because he had been passed over for a raise or fired from the team. These were private individuals who just didn’t like what he had to say.
And how exactly can you ban someone from making discriminatory comments? Who makes that call? If we got to sue everyone who said things that upset us, we’d be living in the court room.