England are taking on the West Indies in the third test in St Lucia and after fantastic bowling display, they look set to win the game relatively comfortably. However, the big talking point came this morning as Joe Root called out fast bowler Shannon Gabriel for his homophobic sledging.
Although his comment was not picked up by the microphones, the 30-year-old was warned by the umpire for his language that clearly crossed the mark. Captain Joe Root replied to the abuse in a controlled but firm manner saying:
"Don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay."
Root has received praise from pundits and fans on social media alike with former England player Ebony-Jewel Rainford-Brent commenting: “"Well done Root. We don't know exactly what was said but what we can take from it is that whatever Joe thought he heard, his response was one of a leader.”
Nasser Hussain said on Twitter: “I don’t know who said what to whom .. but boy do I applaud Joe Root’s reaction here. For me, his twelve words as a role model will be in the end more important than a test hundred or possible victory.”
Paul Newman of the Daily Mail said: “Afraid ‘what is said on the field stays there’ is not good enough any more. If Shannon Gabriel has made the remarks he appears to have done to illicit that response from Joe Root then it has to be made public and dealt with transparently by the match referee”
Meanwhile, this was an act that crossed sport as former Arsenal striker Ian Wright said: “Joe Root. Well played and well said Sir” whilst Gary Lineker put: “Perfect response from @root66”
Root went on to make 122, and you can see his response below in the video published by Sky Sports Cricket.
Joe Root responds to sledging from Windies bowler Shannon Gabriel.