Footballer Lee Steele has been let go by the Oxford City after he posted an anti-gay tweet directed at UK rugby star Gareth Thomas.

Thomas, who came out gay in 2009, retired from rugby late last year. The Welshman's coming out inspired other professional athletes to come out, including English cricketer Steven Michael Davies and Swedish footballer (European soccer) Anton Hysen.

Last week, the 37-year-old Thomas entered the Channel 5 Celebrity Big Brother UK house.

Steele, 38, messaged to his followers on Twitter: “I wouldn't fancy the bed next to Gareth Thomas #padlockeda**ehole.”

According to the BBC, the Oxford City fired the athlete.

Club manager Mike Ford said: “On this occasion Lee's had to pay for his error of judgment.”

“He's made a homophobic comment,” Ford added, “that doesn't necessarily mean he's homophobic.”

Former rugby star Ben Cohen, who continues to speak out against homophobia in the sports world, said: “If you are a sportsman, you're a role model and people look up to you no matter what division you're in.”

(Related: Ben Cohen signs beefcake calendar in UK gay sex shop.)