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Wild Reason Footballer Toby Addison Was Kicked out of the Gym

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When Toby Addison was 17 years old, he went to a new gym on a guest pass with a friend. He was accused of creepily staring at a woman there and was eventually kicked out by the manager.

However, Toby is blind.

Toby, who is a content creator and soccer player, was born fully sighted but he began to lose his eyesight at the age of 11. By his early teens, he had lost 80% of his eyesight. He is now 21 years old and has about 4% of his sight. He has a Tiktok account, @blindtobes where he shares his life as a blind person. 

Toby Addison - blind discrimination at gym
Toby shared the story on a podcast and on his TikTok account. Source: Tiktok

Toby accused of staring creepily at woman

Toby recalls the mortifying moment that occurred when he was a teen. While he was minding his own business during his workout, he heard a woman rudely ask him, “Oh, do you like that view?”

Speaking on the Happy Hour Podcast, the 21-year-old explained:

“I don’t really know where I am looking a lot of the time unless I am talking to someone like I know that I’m talking to you so I am trying to look in your direction.

So I was just staring straight ahead and unfortunately there was a woman doing some exercises. I don’t know what she was doing, whether it was some squats or whatever, where you may be in a more vulnerable position maybe and don’t want to be stared at.”

She came over to me, and I didn’t know she was talking to me at first because I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m just doing my thing.”

Didn’t believe him 

The woman called Toby a creep and accused him of staring at her. Toby did explain that he was blind and even showed the woman his cane, which was folded up on his lap. However, she didn’t believe him.

Toby added that there is now a culture of trying to catch gym creeps in the act of staring at and recording other people during their workouts.

So he suspects that the woman thought the cane was a prop as part of his disguise to creep on women.

The woman went to get the manager and Toby was asked to leave. At the time, he wasn’t confident enough to speak up for himself so he promptly left and never returned to that gym.

In a TikTok video, Addison said he understood why the woman would have wanted to call him out for making her feel uncomfortable, but he wishes she had tried to be more understanding of his situation. 

“It’s so sad that some women feel uncomfortable or anxious when in the gym because of a small percentage of people who have acted inappropriately,” he said.

It’s also really sad that awareness around disabilities just isn’t good enough at the minute, and when you mix the two together you make situations like I described way more likely to occur.”

Toby shares a few other instances where he has been discriminated against in public due to people not believing that he is blind. At a pub, Toby tripped up the stairs and was removed for being too drunk. He only had one drink but simply could not see the stairs clearly.

He also shares a story where he was removed from a pub for holding onto his friend’s arm.  Again, it was assumed he was too intoxicated but in reality, Toby’s mate was acting as his guide. 

In school, Toby was also berated and removed from class by a substitute teacher for asking to have his work on his laptop instead of a sheet of paper. The substitute teacher wasn’t aware of Toby’s inability to see and Toby suspects the teacher would have gotten into hot water. 

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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