Today is IDAHO – International Day Against Homophobia and the AFL industry is calling upon fans to take the pledge never to use homophobic language and to stand up to those who do, through the player-driven #FOOTY4IDAHO campaign.
Some of the biggest names in football including ‘PA President Luke Ball, Adam Goodes, Nic Naitanui, as well as industry figures Mark Evans and Peggy O’Neal are throwing their support behind the campaign targeted at tackling homophobia and promoting inclusion.
Launched through the AFL Players’ Association and the AFL, the campaign video features AFL identities asking fans to join in taking this pledge, and to share the message via social media to help raise awareness of the damaging impact homophobic language can have within our society.
“This year the whole AFL industry is calling on fans to take the pledge never to use homophobic language and to actually stand up and challenge those who do” – Ian Prendergast
Speaking on ABC Grandstand this morning, Players’ Association Acting CEO Ian Prendergast said the success of the campaign was measured by the number of industry identities willing to take a stand against the use of homophobic language in sport and within society.
“This year the whole AFL industry is calling on fans to take the pledge never to use homophobic language and to actually stand up and challenge those who do, as part of our social media campaign that we’re rolling out which is designed to tackle homophobia and to promote inclusion” Prendergast said.
Prendergast also highlighted the efforts of local footballer Jason Ball, and his advocacy for change relating to homophobia in sport.
“I met with Jason last week and he’s certainly passionate about the cause. The effort that he’s put in to raise awareness of the negative impact homophobic language can have on society has been invaluable, and he continues to work with us and the AFL to really use football as a vehicle to change.”
Following negative comments in the media relating to Michael Sam, an openly gay footballer drafted in the NFL, Prendergast praised the reaction given to those comments.
“There is an undercurrent that still exits and that’s something we need to address. I think what was positive about Sam Newman’s comments on Michael Sam the other night on the football show was the instant reaction – and the fact that even the members on his own panel challenged him – and the use of that language and the impact that it can have.
“We’re certainly getting there, what we’re focussed on is creating a really inclusive environment within the AFL. From our point of view, footy is for everyone and you need to feel that sense of belonging that you get from our great game.
“In terms of vilification, the game has been very clear on not standing for any form of vilification, but that really needs to extend beyond the football field into society and it starts from grass roots level all the way to the elite level” Prendergast said.
To support the #FOOTY4IDAHO campaign, the AFL industry is calling on fans to take the pledge to never use homophobic language and stand up to those who do, with an emphasis on fostering a culture of inclusion at all times. Share the AFL Players video across social media and join us in giving homophobia the boot.