Italian soccer player Antonio Cassano, a striker for AC Milan,  apologized on Tuesday after telling a reporter he hoped his team was a queer-free zone.

Rumors have circulated lately about there supposedly being two gay players on Italy’s 22-man team at the UEFA European Football Championships, now going on in Poland. Earlier this year, coach Cesare Prandelli came out in support of gay soccer players. But on Monday, a reporter asked Cassano about the existence of any closeted players, and he replied, ‘The coach had warned me that you would ask me this question. If I say what I think… I hope there are none. But if there are queers here, that’s their business.”

Obviously Cassano wasn’t speaking in English, so we imagine he used the Italian equivalent of “queers.” (Any guesses?)

When his ignorant words went public, Cassano quickly backpedaled. “Homophobia is a sentiment that is not mine. I did not want to offend anyone and I can not question the sexual freedom of other people,” he said in a statement on Tuesday. “I only said that it is a problem that does not concern me and it is not for me to pass judgment on the choices of others, who are all respected.”

Really—That’s what you said? Maybe we read a bad translation.

Cassano is know for his short temper—in fact, the term “cassanata” is used by Italian journalists to describe poor sportsmanship or lack of team spirit. We know a few other terms we’d like to call him.

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