The press tour for the upcoming Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight has been a big deal for many reasons, but among the most notable aspects of it has been the accusations of racism dogging McGregor after the UFC champion repeatedly referred to his opponent as "boy." In a separate incident, McGregor called black actors in a scene from Rocky III "dancing monkeys" during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel Live's Guillermo Rodriguez. He also joked that he was half-black, "from the belly button down."
But as it turns out, McGregor was not the only fighter to use charged language. During the tour's final stop on Friday in London, Floyd Mayweather used a homophobic slur when insulting McGregor. During the exchange, Mayweather calls his opponent a "punk" and a "faggot," among other choice insults.
A rep for Mayweather later told TMZ that Mayweather only used that language in response to provocation, saying that McGregor had earlier called the boxer a "monkey" off-mic.
"The reason Floyd called Conor the F word is because Conor called Floyd a monkey," the rep said. "Floyd has nothing against gays or lesbians at all ... Floyd has them on his staff. Floyd has nothing but the utmost respect for gays and lesbians."
However, Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of the group Athlete Ally, which aims to "foster inclusive sports communities," was not buying the apology. He issued a statement about the incident and the response from Mayweather's camp.
Athlete Ally strongly condemns the homophobic slur used by Floyd Mayweather. The response given by Mayweather’s representative is equally troubling. If Mayweather truly has the utmost respect for the LGBT community, he wouldn’t resort to using slurs that perpetuate anti-LGBT stigma and hate.
Additionally, if the allegations of Conor McGregor’s racial slur are true, McGregor too crossed an unacceptable line. Resorting to homophobic and racial epithets is shameful no matter how or why one uses them.