This saddens me …

I found this new brief via my e-mail alerts. A rugby team in New York forfeited a match against the Gotham Knights (a gay men’s team) after asking the Knights if they could guarantee that none of their players were HIV positive …

FDNY rugby team forfeits game over HIV fears
Firefighters asked if all of Kinghts players were negative
NEW YORK | Jun 27, 3:01 PM

Before a scheduled rugby match against gay team Gotham Knights, an opposing team comprised of New York firefighters asked the Knights if they could swear that everyone on their team is not HIV-positive.

When the Knights could not give such a guarantee, the FDNY team forfeited, according to a story on

The incident occurred June 17 during the quarterfinals of the 30th-annual Rockaway Rugby Sevens Tournament in Queens.

Eric Merfalen of the Gotham Knights told that a member of the FDNY team called Rock B/Fire “came up and said something like, ‘I don’t mean to be a jerk, but…’ and then he asked if we could all confirm that we were not HIV positive.”

After the forfeit, the Knights left the tournament.

Rugby is a brutal contact sport akin to football, but without any pads. Earlier this year, the Gotham Knights hosted the Bingham Cup, an international gay rugby tournament.

I don’t agree with the description of our sport as a “brutal” contact sport, but that’s just me. Here is more detailed coverage of the story from OutSports where they talked to players on the other team (members of the Rockaway Rugby Club) and members of the tournament organization.

Make sure and read this article as well, because it discusses other abusive comments the Knights were subjected to during the tournament. In addition, it discusses some possible legal ramifications the hosting team could face, in addition to statistics discussing the possibilities (1 in 85 million!) that HIV could be transmitted during contact sports.

This is just complete crap. How many other rugby teams at that tournament were asked if they had any HIV-positive players? I’m guessing none. This is bigotry at its core. And it is truly disgusting.




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3 responses to “This saddens me …

  1. jd

    This is nauseating. It blows my mind that Rugby players in the United States who are constantly misunderstood, stigmatized, and stereotyped would be so insensitive to ANY group, and perpetuate ANY stereotype. The level of ignorance required to make such a request is astounding; prefacing a question with “I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but…” shows at least a minute comprehension of its inappropriate nature. There should be legal (or at least social) ramifications for the Knights.

  2. jd

    forgive the mistake- legal ramifications for the FD team undertaken BY the Knights.

  3. Tatai

    We wanted to and were able to play the game v. the Rockaway B (firemen)team. THe firmen’s captain approached us during warm-ups. We left the tournament – after being given the forfeit win – not because we were upset at the organizers. We left because we lost too many players to time constraints (work) and injury. We did not have seven bodies for the game in the next time slot.
    Where the firemen acted stupidly the organizers acted brilliantly, they called the firemen’s captain an imbecile and immediately forfeited the firemen. We were then expected to play the next round.

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