In addition to today’s launch of No To Homophobia campaign it’s heartening to see that the AFL has come out in support to remove homophobia from their code. As seen on Twitter:
AFL declares war on homophobia | AFL | Fox Sports foxsports.com.au/afl/afl-premie…
— AFL Diversity (@AFLdiversity) August 28, 2012
Let’s put this in context – AFL is an interesting sport. To date not one major league AFL player has come out as gay. While certainly not the spokesperson for AFL in Australia, outspoken player Jason Akermanis had his own thoughts on this. Reported in The Age:
“If a player wants to out himself, then I say good luck,” he wrote.
“But I believe the world of AFL footy is not ready for it. To come out is unnecessary for a lot of reasons.
“Imagine the publicity associated with a current player admitting he’s gay.
“It would be international news and could break the fabric of a club.”
I can’t see how creating a positive role model for a young gay man could be harmful in sports crazy Australia or even the world. After all it would be international news, wouldn’t it Ackers?
I have no delusions that we are suddenly going to have gay AFL players pounding the door of the local press however it would be great to see at least one. Heck even rugby has started to tackle it’s homophobic past. So good on the AFL for making these first tentative steps.
Neil Mitchell: “If a gay AFL player came out of the closet it would do a world of good in the fight against homophobia” Yep…
— Principessa (@Diamonds_Pearlz) August 28, 2012
Here here Principessa, here here.
One very positive step has been the recent fining of St Kilda AFL player Stephen Milne $3000 after calling fellow player Harry O’Brian a “fucking homo” during a heated match. AFL has stood beside this decision as a step forward.
From the Herald Sun:
AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson supported the fine imposed on Milne by St Kilda, saying the league viewed the matter very seriously.
“It simply is not acceptable, even in the heat of battle, for AFL players to use homophobic insults on the football field,” Anderson said. “The St Kilda Football Club is to be commended for taking this action.”
Step by step, game by game, moment by moment we are chipping away at homophobia. Congratulations to the code of AFL. Welcome to 2012.
Yours in good health.
Dr George Photo Cred: The Herald Sun