bare minimum

Tennis player who blamed heat for using homophobic slur wears rainbow sweatband to show remorse

Italian tennis player Fabio Fognini made international headlines two weeks ago when he shouted a homophobic slur over and over again during his Olympic tennis match. Now, he’s trying to make amends.

The 34-year-old repeatedly screamed the word “frocio” (the Italian word for “f*ggot”) at himself as it became clear he was going to lose to his opponent. When the match was over, he angrily threw his racket into a courtside trash can in a fit of rage.

After his antigay outburst went viral around the world, Fognini took to his Instagram stories to blame the heat and humidity for his vile behavior. Because extreme temperatures, evidently, trigger homophobia.

“The heat went to my head,” he posted in Italian against a rainbow background. “In today’s match I used a really stupid expression towards myself.”

“Obviously, I didn’t want to offend anyone’s sensibilities. I love the LGBT community and I apologize for the nonsense that came out of me.”

Now, in an effort to show that he really is truly sorry, Fognini took the court at the National Bank Open this week in a rainbow-colored sweatband and matching wristbands for his opening-round match. It was his first event since the Olympics debacle.

He also posted a picture of his rainbow get-up to Instagram, along with the caption, “#loveforall.”

We’re all for forgiveness, but wearing a rainbow sweatband and using a generic hashtag after repeatedly shouting an antigay slur in front of literally the entire world feels like the bare minimum. But we have a feeling that’s all we’re going to get out of Fognini, so… apology accepted?

Last month’s incident wasn’t the first time he’s been caught using offensive language while on the job. In 2017, he was kicked out of the U.S. Open for calling an umpire a “bocchinara” (c*cksucker) after he lost his first-round singles match, resulting in him losing his place in the event’s doubles tournament.

Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.