American golf star and world number three Justin Thomas has been forced to apologise after blurting out a homophobic slur live on air at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
On Saturday (9 January), during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, Thomas missed a five-foot putt on the fourth hole.
As he missed, the television microphone picked up his voice as he muttered: “Faggot.”
Sports Media LGBT+, a network group that “advocates for inclusion in both our own industry and across sport in general”, responded to the clip on social media.
The organisation wrote on Twitter: “The casual use of anti-gay language in sports – usually without homophobic intent – is a major reason why many athletes and coaches who are LGBT+ don’t feel they would be made welcome if they came out.”
Justin Thomas described his homophobic outburst as “terrible”
Afterwards, Justin Thomas, 27, apologised for the homophobic slur while speaking to Golf Channel.
According to Reuters, he said: “There’s just no excuse. There’s absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that. It’s terrible. It’s not the kind of person that I am.”
“I need to do better,” he added. “I deeply apologise to anyone and everybody who I offended and I’ll be better because of it.”
He also told BBC Sport: “It’s inexcusable… I’m an adult. I’m a grown man, there’s absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that. It’s terrible. I’m extremely embarrassed.
“It’s not who I am, it’s not the kind of person that I am or anything that I do. Unfortunately, I did it and I have to own up to it and I’m very apologetic.”
But some golf fans on social media were hesitant to accept his apology, with one writing: “Justin Thomas apologised for GETTING CAUGHT using a homophobic slur.
“No way was it the first time just lack of crowd noise to hide it this time!”
The PGA Tour said in a statement: “As he expressed after his round, we agree that Justin’s comment was unacceptable.”