Top cricket player Ben Stokes was suspended this week after video surfaced of him in a brawl outside a pub in Bristol, England.
But Stokes was only helping two gay men who were being attacked, according to TV personality Piers Morgan.
The 26-year-old vice-skipper was charged with causing actual bodily harm after taking swings at two men late Sunday night. But in a series of tweets, Morgan claimed Stokes was intervening in an verbal and physical assault on two gay men.
“I’m hearing that Ben Stokes intervened to help two gay guys who were being abused by yobs [youths], one of whom was armed with a bottle,” he wrote.
I'm hearing that Ben Stokes intervened to help two gay guys who were being abused by yobs, one of whom was armed with a bottle.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 28, 2017
“Stokes has told friends he was incensed by the homophobic taunts, then saw the bottle being raised & decided to defend himself,” he added. “Stokes obviously regrets what happened but apparently his view is: ‘They started it, I finished it. I was protecting those guys.’”
Morgan claims Stokes—who reportedly broke his hand in the altercation—told his mates, “The guy had a bottle in his hand and was threatening us—was I supposed to wait until he smashed it in my face?”
Police are aware of Stokes’ version of the incident and are trying to track down witnesses to corroborate. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) stated Stokes will not be considered for selection until the conclusion of that investigation.
Some, though, are already coming to his defense.
“If that video is what they are going on, then Ben Stokes is a bit of a hero for me,” said cricketer Graeme Swann.