Jordan Henderson’s apology was rejected by a Liverpool LGBT+ supporter organization, who also told the midfielder that “actions speak louder than words.”
The 33-year-old England international stirred much controversy when he transferred from Liverpool to Al-Ettifaq of the Saudi Pro League in the summer transfer window. In Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is against the law, and the death penalty is the harshest punishment.
Henderson was an outspoken advocate for the LGBT+ community while playing for Liverpool, and his switch to Al-Ettifaq left many of his supporters feeling betrayed. In an interview that was released on Tuesday morning, he attempted to explain the transfer.
Henderson says he “understands the anger” around his decision and has apologized to any offended fans. A well-known Liverpool LGBT+ supporter group called Kop Outs! thinks Henderson’s apology is an attempt to protect his brand.
Henderson, a contentious selection for the latest England team, said: “I can understand the frustration. I can understand the anger. I get it. All I can say around that is that I’m sorry that they feel like that. My intention was never, ever to hurt anyone.”
The Al-Ettifaq skipper was asked if, as in the past, he would wear rainbow laces in Saudi Arabia. I wouldn’t rule that out, he replied. But at the same time, what I wouldn’t do is disrespect the religion and culture in Saudi Arabia.