We’ve already identified the AFL as the most socially progressive sports league in the world but now players are following lead of their banner organisation with Carlton and Richmond midfielders Brock McLean and Daniel Jackson becoming the first players to join Victoria’s St Kilda Gay Pride March. Last year’s “No To Homophobia” campaign was a sincere statement from the AFL but without player support it risked becoming little more than a token gesture.
While no elite player has ever officially ‘come out’, the public voicing of support from McLean and Jackson is a definite step toward breaking down the perceived stigma of homosexuality within Australian men’s sport. It was a bold and timely statement considering the last player to speak at length about homosexuality within the AFL was Jason Akermanis with his controversial plea for players to ‘stay in the closet‘.
“The AFL and players have been so quiet on this issue for so long, they’re sort of pretending like it’s not there,” McLean said. “But there is an issue there. There is homophobia in sport and
if we could start to get more people to talk about it, and more people
to voice their opinion and talk about what’s right – and that’s treating
everyone equally – then I guess that’s a win-win for everyone.”
via Herald Sun
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