Italian tennis player Fabio Fognini, who was condemned for his using homophobic slurs during the Olympics, returned to the court in a rainbow outfit.
Fognini repeatedly yelled a homophobic slur after being defeated in the Olympics men’s singles tennis tournament.
After a three-set loss to Russian Olympic Committee player Daniil Medvedev on 28 July, Fognini proceeded to slam his racket against the court and then throw it into a court-side rubbish bin.
But, returning to the court for the first time since his homophobic tantrum, the tennis player appeared in a rainbow rainbow headband and wristbands for his first-round match at the ATP 1000 event in Toronto, Canada, on Monday (9 August).
However, the colourful statement impressed exactly no one.
Although Fognini may have thought the rainbow accessories would smooth over his very public homophobia, he was relentlessly mocked on social media.
One Twitter user said: “Does Fabio Fognini think we’ll just forget his homophobic slur last month if he adds rainbow wrist and head bands to his tennis wardrobe?”
Fabio Fognini putting on his rainbow sweatbands this morning pic.twitter.com/xktoIPfSzf
— Emma (@emmaalexbooth) August 9, 2021
“Fabio Fognini threw the first brick at Stonewall,” tweeted another.
fabio fognini threw the first brick at stonewall https://t.co/H86Huhhhnx
— mailan (@tennisdyke) August 9, 2021
“Imagining the PR meeting that led to this decision,” wrote a third.
Fabio Fognini blamed the heat in Tokyo for his homophobic outburst
The day after his vile behaviour at the Olympics, Fabio Fognini offered a bizarre apology in a rainbow-themed post on his Instagram Stories.
He said he “used a really stupid expression toward myself” and added the hot conditions in Tokyo “affected” his “head”.
“Obviously, I didn’t want to offend anyone’s feelings,” Fognini wrote. “I love the LGBT community, and I apologise for the nonsense that I let out.”
At the US Open in 2017, Fognini was kicked out of the doubles tournament for shouting obscenities at a female umpire.
According to the Guardian, Swedish umpire Louise Engzelle reported that Fognini called her “troia” and “bocchinara” in Italian – which translates as “w***e” and “c********r” in English.
Fognini received three fines – totalling $24,000 together – from the ITF for his behaviour at the tournament, as well as a suspended ban of two Grand Slam tournaments.