Luke Ball, Jobe Watson, Lenny Hayes, Drew Petrie, Scott Pendlebury and Brock McLean are just a few of the AFL’s biggest names leading a player-driven campaign to tackle the issue of homophobia in sport, ahead of IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) on Friday 17 May.
The AFL Players’ Association has today launched #Footy4IDAHO, a social media campaign targeting the use of homophobic language. The campaign includes a series of videos featuring AFL players taking a pledge to stamp out the use of homophobic language, while also raising awareness of the damaging effects it can have within sport and the community.
Players and fans are asked to make the following pledge:
"I’m taking the pledge to never use homophobic language. Think before you speak, it’s time to stop shirking the issue.” #FOOTY4IDAHO
Carlton footballer Brock McLean, who spoke out earlier this year in support of his sister who is gay, has been one of the key drivers of this campaign. McLean was motivated to speak out against homophobia in sport after seeing how his sister was treated when she came out.
“It gets back to basic human rights. Everyone has a right to be treated equally,” McLean said.
“The way some people looked at her and the way some people treated her like a second class citizen made me sick.
“This campaign is to raise awareness of homophobia in society and in sport but also the little things that we use in our language, like ‘that’s gay’ or ‘you’re gay’…And reminding people that those little phrases that we use makes a big difference to some people.”
AFL Players’ Association CEO, Matt Finnis agreed and said this campaign was an extension of the AFL Players’ ongoing commitment to creating an inclusive environment which does not discriminate irrespective of race, gender, religion or sexual preference.
''We want to make sure that any person who is involved in football whether they're a player, an official or a supporter, feels very comfortable to be themselves in their workplace or at the game.''
“We hope the players' stance will help reduce homophobic abuse at the football, in the same way racism has been largely kicked out of the game.”
The Players’ Association has been actively involved in supporting IDAHO since 2009, however the 2013 campaign is the most extensive, with the participation and commitment by all players involved highlighting the Association’s continual emphasis on ensuring the AFL industry is an inclusive one for all.
The campaign calls on fans to take the pledge and post it through their social media networks as well as providing fans with a number of campaign resources, including Facebook cover and Profile images, which fans can use to show their support.
How fans can get involved: