Italian Soccer Player Fined For Hoping There Are No Gays On His Team

Italian soccer star Antonio Cassano, who told a report in June that he hoped there were no gay players on his team, was fined on Friday for his comments by the governing UEFA.

Cassano, a striker for AC Milan, must pay $18,250 for his ”discriminatory press statement,” made at a media event in Poland.

At the time he said he hoped there were no homosexual players on the Italian national team: 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.”

When his words went public, Cassano quickly backpedaled. “Homophobia is a sentiment that is not mine. I did not want to offend anyone and I cannot question the sexual freedom of other people,” he said in a statement later.

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.