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England Captain's Brilliant Response To Alleged Gay Sledge

This is the story that proves sport is better than everything else in the world.

When England cricket captain Joe Root received an allegedly homophobic sledge from West Indies paceman Shannon Gabriel in the third Test in St Lucia, his response was all class and dignity:

"There is nothing wrong with being gay. Don’t use it as an insult," the 30-year-old batsman said.

Boom! How good.

Root has a bit of a chat with West Indies captain Jason Holder after the incident.

Think about it. Twenty years ago, homophobic insults were commonplace in sports and many sportspeople would have flung the same sort of slur straight back.

Times have thankfully changed. And Root -- who will captain England against Australia in a home Ashes series this August -- is part of the new breed of tolerant sportsman who is well above all that.

So too were members of England's travelling supporters group, the Barmy Army.

As news of the incident spread, the Army diverted from their usual song list, belting out a series of classic gay anthems as Gabriel came out to bat.

This was sport at its best. This was intolerance being defeated in real time, with unscripted humour and wit, rather than through the outrage cycle.

Cricket's governing body, the ICC, has charged Shannon Gabriel with breaching Article 2.13 of its Code of Conduct.

Oh, and for the record, England won the Test by 232 runs (though they lost the series 2-1). But Joe Root and the Barmy Army won the battle for decency.