An Italian tennis player has blamed humid weather conditions for a series of anti-gay outbursts at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Fabio Fognini apologized after repeatedly shouting “frocio” — or “faggot” — during his match against Russian player Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday, July 28.
The 34-year-old, who is ranked 31st in the world, began his outburst after he started losing to his 25-year-old opponent, who is ranked 2nd in the world.
Medvedev gradually overcame Fognini, beating him 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, leading the Italian to throw his racket into a nearby trash can at the end of the match.
After his anti-gay slurs made their way to social media, Fognini took to Instagram to apologize — and, in a bizarre justification, tried to blame the weather for yelling “faggot” at an international sporting event.
“The heat went to my head,” he wrote, adding that he used a “really stupid expression.”
“Obviously, I didn’t want to offend anyone’s sensibilities,” he continued. “I love the LGBT community and I apologize for the nonsense that came out of me.”
Fognini and Medvedev’s match took place outdoors and in high heat. Tokyo, where the Olympics are taking place, is known for its humidity during warmer months.
At one point, Medvedev nearly fainted and asked the umpire who would assume responsibility if he died while playing, Sky Sports reports.
This isn’t Fognini’s first vulgar outburst during a tennis match. In 2017, he was removed from the US Open after being accused of shouting obscenities at a female umpire.
Fognini called the woman a “whore” and a “cocksucker,” according to another umpire, and received three fines totaling $24,000.
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