During the third leg of his U.S. campaign to combat homophobia in sports, U.K. rugby star Ben Cohen spoke out against a recent rash of gay slurs in the NBA.

Cohen, who recently retired, is visiting four U.S. cities in two weeks to promote greater acceptance of LGBT people in the world of professional sports.

He arrived as the topic of homophobia in sports is being hotly debated after two NBA stars were fined for saying “faggot” during a televised game.

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah received a $50,000 fine for hurling the insult at a fan in Miami, while Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant received a $100,000 fine. Bryant's fine was double because he shouted the insult at an official, the NBA said.

“It sends out the wrong message – that it's fine to call people names,” Cohen said in Washington DC.

The openly straight gay ally is among a handful of sports celebrities speaking out on the issue. Another athlete discussing the issue is Columbia University wrestling coach Hudson Taylor.

Cohen's tour ends in Seattle.