Ben Stokes: Piers Morgan suggests England star acted in defence of 'two gay men'

Yahoo Sport UK
Mbargo nightclub in Bristol, outside which Ben Stokes is alleged to have been involved in an incident
Mbargo nightclub in Bristol, outside which Ben Stokes is alleged to have been involved in an incident

Piers Morgan has leaped to the defence of under-fire England star Ben Stokes, suggesting the all-rounder was defending ‘two gay men’.

Stokes, 26, was arrested in the early hours of Monday morning after an incident in Bristol following England’s ODI victory over West Indies.

The England vice-captain, alongside one-day specialist Alex Hales, was subsequently suspended from international duty on Thursday afternoon until further notice.

The revelations follow footage which was released last night by The Sun which purported to show Stokes involved in an altercation.

READ MORE: England’s Ashes plans derailed as Stokes and Hales suspended

The England and Wales Cricket Board received an apology from Stokes, and a senior source told the Guardian it held a telephone conference on Thursday morning in which it reviewed the footage.

But Morgan has suggested that the incident was self-defence, taking to Twitter to post a series of tweets this morning.

READ MORE: Fresh Ben Stokes controversy as video emerges on same day as Ashes announcement

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The GMB host said: “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.

“Stokes has told friends he was incensed by the homophobic taunts, then saw the bottle being raised and decided to defend himself.

“Stokes obviously regrets what happened but apparently his view is ‘they started it, I finished it. I was protecting those guys’.

“Police are aware of Stokes’ version of events and are now trying to find the two gay men, to corroborate what he’s said.

“Stokes told friends ‘The guy had a bottle in his hand and was threatening us, was I supposed to wait until he smashed it in my face?'”

Morgan later added: “People can obviously make their own minds up  about the Stokes video, but this defence certainly raises new questions.

“Stokes was stupid to be boozing and fighting at 2.30am. But if he WAS defending two gay guys from threatening, abusive, homophobic yobs?”

After supposed footage of the incident leaked last night, it is believed Stokes’ place in England’s Ashes Test squad is under threat.

The Durham man was listed in Trevor Bayliss’ Wednesday announcement, just hours before the video was posted by The Sun.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said: “We have seen this footage for the first time tonight – when posted by The Sun.

“There is an ongoing police investigation, which will look at all available evidence, and we do have to respect that process.”

Following Monday’s incident, Avon and Somerset Police said a 27-year-old man had suffered facial injuries and was taken to the Bristol Royal Infirmary for treatment.

Stokes’ England team-mate Alex Hales voluntarily returned to Bristol to help police with their inquiries, the ECB said.

The duo were unavailable for Wednesday’s one-day international match against West Indies at The Oval, which England won by six runs.

Stokes – who was appointed test vice-captain in February – has a history of temperamental behaviour.

In June 2016 he was banned from driving and warned he would be jailed if caught behind the wheel after racking up his fourth speeding conviction.

READ MORE: England’s Ashes squad confirmed

Three years before that he was sent home from an England Lions tour to Australia for breaking team curfews.

And in 2011 he was arrested for obstructing a police officer after in an incident in Cumbria.

He wrote in his autobiography: “Spending a night in the cell was the worst time of my life. No question.

“If you are going to get arrested, you may as well have done something to have warranted it.”

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