A prominant AFL player has recently made comments about gay sports men, and urged them not to declare their sexuality as the 'sport may not be ready to cope with homosexual players'
Football clubs are very different environments. Locker room nudity is an everyday part of our lives and unlike any other work place. I believe it would cause discomfort in that environment should someone declare himself gay.
I have played with a gay player in the twos for Mayne in Queensland in the mid-1990s who was happy to admit his sexual persuasion. He was a great guy who played his heart out and was respected by everyone in the team.
The only time I noticed a difference was when I was showering with 10 other players after a good win and I turned around to see all 10 heading out in a second with their towels. Sure enough, our gay teammate had wandered in.
For some reason I felt uncomfortable, so I left. I am sure most players these days would do the same.
In an athletic environment the rules are different from the cultural rules for men.
Never in a mall will you see two straight men hugging, a--- slapping and jumping around like kids after an important goal.
Locker room nudity and homoerotic activities are normal inside footy clubs.
Young people from the ages 15-24 are the main participants in organised sport in Victoria. Some of them must be gay and I hope they thoroughly enjoy their sporting lives without having to experience any form of prejudice.
But if they are thinking of telling the world, my advice would be forget it.
I personally don't agree with the notion that if a player was homosexual and they chose to make it public knowledge that they shouldn't. However some interesting points are made, and I do agree most sporting instutions are ill equiped to handle homosexual players.
Some points I believe are debatable:
-Is allowing gay players into locker rooms where nudity the norm allowable? is it different than a female in the mens locker room or a male in the females locker room?
-Should a player coming public with their sexuality be national news? Should it cause such a fuss?
-Does it even matter what a players sexuality is? A number of players are bound to be gay and it hasn't mattered so far?
-Are homosexual players in female sport really accepted? or is less attention payed to female sports as a whole?
In women's sport - tennis, golf, cricket, hockey and soccer - being gay carries no stigma. But men's sport is well behind in acceptance.