- AFL footballers say the time is right for a gay player to “come out” in senior league ranks to end one of the last taboos in Australian sport.
Essendon captain Brendon Goddard, Collingwood player Tyson Goldsack and Hawthorn’s Matt Spangher believe an AFL star who declared they were homosexual would be supported on and off the field.
Taking a stand against homophobia, they said the AFL needed to tackle the issue as it did with racism, domestic violence and indigenous affairs.
Goldsack said the AFL was “probably behind the times’’ by not having an openly gay player at the elite level.
“I hope someone does come out just so they can then be themselves and hopefully they are treated in the right way and it allows other people to come out as well,” he said.
“I think the worst thing would be if someone does choose to come out and it gets taken the wrong way or it gets blown out of proportion, which it shouldn’t.”
Goddard, who admitted using homophobic language in the past, said the first openly gay senior player could “create a domino effect”. “I think now the AFL players and the AFL itself would definitely give their support if someone was to come out,” Goddard said.
“Not to say they wouldn’t have before, but I think if a guy was to come out in the AFL they would feel a lot more comfortable knowing they would have the support.”
Spangher, whose sister is gay, said “the winds are changing” but the fact homophobic language still existed within the AFL could explain why no league player had declared themselves publicly.
“You can’t control how the crowd reacts or what they say,” Spangher said. “All you can do is educate and hope you can make a difference.”
The trio have joined Richmond captain Trent Cotchin and former Carlton star Chris Judd to support the Move In May fun run for equality in Melbourne on May 22.
For details on the fun run go to standupevents.com.au