Crio’s Question: Sexuality nobody’s business

I sort of understand the homophobic awareness campaign being pushed, but I kinda think it is (again) the AFL desperately trying to be relevant and the enormous media scrum searching for an angle.
Here’s my take.
Some players are gay. Most aren’t. Heterosexuals are presumably taking risks and treating women without due respect. Too many are probably pushing boundaries with unsafe sex. Some may vote green…
I care. But it is a societal matter.
No players need to define allegiance for sexual or political preference.
Just tolerance.

Here’s a broad template…
-player bashes girlfriend = police business
-player seduces teammate’s girl = club business
-player has boyfriend = nobody’s business.

Is this too simplistic?


  1. Crio and all

    I agree, that it is none of my business if they are gay. I also don’t feel players should be pressured by the football (or any) community to declare their preferences.

    I do however, sadly, feel that the crowds and supppoters aren’t ready for this. Much as I’d like to feel we are enlightened and open, spending any time in the outer at a game tells you that a player who shares with us that he is gay will suffer even more sledging off the field, and potentially on it, from narrow minded people.

    When you hear the rubbish spouted against players on mere ability, let alone rumours of what they may have done off the field outside of their sexual activity, I really fear for what may happen if they have that addded to it.

    Every week ,I and I guarantee you many of you, see and hear people for whom footy means too much, that are astonishingly vitriolic and full of hatred when it coems to barracking and clearly have little in their lives apart from the final scoreboard result. Give them the ammunition of a player’s bravery to share their sexuality and they’ll take it too far.

    Should we make decisions based on the views and minds of the ignorant? No, but you ignore the massive groups of the ignorant at your peril.

    As I say, I couldn’t care less and am really sorry we aren’t more open, but I simply don’t think the crowds will be as accepting as the senior AFL leadership assumes it will be


  2. Ben Footner says

    I’ve never understood why society requires people who are homosexual to declare so, particularly if they have a high profile. Who cares really?

    On that same thread – I’ve also never understood why people who are homosexual are seen as being defined by their sexuality – i.e. “I am gay” or “He/She is gay”. The fact that I am heterosexual does not define me as a person. It is just one part of me that contributes to the whole.

    Personally I couldn’t really give a stuff what a person’s sexuality is, nor do I need them to declare it to me any more than I need them to declare to me their preference of breakfast cereal.

  3. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Sean, I think we have to grow up as a football following community just as we have from the racist years of the 70s and 80s where anyone off-white or non-anglo was booed. It was tolerated, but thankfully times changes.

    Yes, there are uneducated oafs around, always will be, but young men and women should not have to hide who they are and live lives of quiet desperation. It didn’t take long for Ian Roberts to respected, despite coming out. it would be too much for one player so if a group came forward I think the initial ‘shock’ will dissipate in time and they will be judged on their football ability. Complex issue which I wrote about a few years ago. Here is my take:

  4. I really feel for the first AFL player who “comes out”.
    It will be a media circus, in which the important issues will be lost.

  5. Jeff Dowsing says

    I think everyone would be very grateful to the first player who comes out just to start the moving on process. This issue as it pertains to the AFL is getting far more publicity than it warrants imo. For what it’s worth Collingwood’s Pink Magpies supporter group was recognised by the club years ago. Sure there will always be the bigoted ones out there but I’d like to think we’re enlightened enough to self regulate, as we do now when the (very) odd rascist taunt rears its ugly head.

    The longest bow had to be the front page article that The Saturday Age for some reason thought worthy of publishing about Brock McLean and his sister. Now the care factor and relevance to the cause that has I have no idea.

  6. Footy media is just so big… they need to “find” stories.

  7. The question appears to be based on a naive assumption that the public and private sphere are two separate spheres. The question implies that once the game is finished (public sphere), the participants go home, close their doors and live private lives. If that were the case everybody’s sexuality and other characteristics would be of little interest outside their close knit family.

    That is not the case. Every hetro invited to the Brownlow can arrive openly demonstrating their sexuality. Every homosexual invited can arrive, openly demonstrating their sexuality as well. Yeah, sure.

    In fact every hetro can turn up at pretty much every club event or any other associated and unrelated event openly demonstrating their sexuality (without even feeling that they are doing so). Heterosexuality has been so normalised as to be considered the only type of sexuality. That is why it is important for the AFL and every other employer and or community minded entity to question this ridiculously imbalanced situation in the public sphere. And keep it in the public sphere. Sure we can discuss how ham-fisted the AFL might be handling the matter but it is very important to raise it and maintain the demand for significant reform.

    Imagine a footballer such as Dwayne Swan or Brad Sewell or whoever arriving arm in arm with their boyfriend to any public event (whether it be a family BBQ or the Brownlow) and kiss and canoodle as may be the way they are feeling for their lover in a moment. Replace the word boyfriend with girlfriend and it’s easy to imagine. In fact you don’t have to imagine it. You can see it in TV images and photos and in public.

    Sexuality is everybody’s business until the suicide rate and self harm rate have declined well below a national average for teenagers scared to confront the reality of their inner feelings about themselves and their sexuality.

    The public sphere as Habermas (and many others) have extensively discussed “encompasses a variety of meanings and it implies a spatial concept, the social sites or arenas where meanings are articulated, distributed, and negotiated, as well as the collective body constituted by, and in this process, “the public”. Sexuality, along with Gender, Race and, finally Disability are the big 20 century public discussions that have helped revolutionize the way we treat each other. These matters are hardly worked through but I support every attempt to keep working them through.

    If one footballer still feels it better to hide their inner most character for fear of the repercussions then that is one too many. Every conversation that raises awareness as to improving the rights of all is better had than not.


  8. Dave Nadel says

    Very well put, Rick. In the seventies the level of racism amongst VFL crowds was so intense that it was impossible to imagine that footy crowds would ever be comfortable places for minorities. Now, thanks to the courage of Nicky Winmar, Michael Long and some other players, and the sensitivity of AFL and club officials (including people that one does not usually think of as sensitive like Edie McGuire) not only are racist remarks banned but white players like Daisy Thomas are reporting their own fans for offensive racist remarks. This can happen on sexuality, too.

    No one should be forced to declare their sexuality. However until homophobia is dealt with amongst players and crowds Gay people will not feel comfortable as professional footballers,

  9. Steve Fahey says

    I agree completely with the points very well made by Rick and Dave. Well done to you both

  10. Matt Zurbo says

    It is nobody’s damn business. Simple.

  11. Mark Doyle says

    Let’s not beat around the bush! Australian society is immature, conservative, prudish and anti-intellectual about issues such as sexuality, use of recreational drugs, nudity and feminism. Most Australian men have an immature attitude to women, ‘gay’ men and lesbian women. This culture is the result of a poor education system and a garbage mainstream media which is only interested in trivial and celebrity nonsense.

  12. Pretty much you standard response to anything Mark, except you missed out your usual favourites: “ignorant” and “buffoons”.

  13. Andrew Fithall says

    Allow me to provide evidence supporting Mark Doyle’s sentiment that Australian males are immature by stating this discussion is definitely not about “beating around the bush”.

  14. AF, tee hee, titter

  15. nathan jarvis says

    “Heterosexuality has been so normalised as to be considered the only type of sexuality.”

    That dirty, underhanded heterosexuality. Play fair, heterosexuality – quit your sneaky tricks!

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