I heard last night that AFL’s St. Kilda Football Club (a.k.a. the Saints), have put in a request to have a “Gay Pride” round when they play against Sydney Swans. Melbourne’s The Age the St. Kilda Football Club had lobbied league bosses to play the round to stand for equality and fight against homophobia. This was inspired by Jason Ball, the first openly gay footballer. His team, the Yarra Glen. have played such games, where they give out a rainbow coloured trophy, for the past two years.
When I first heard about this on 2GB last night, to be honest, I was underwhelmed. Usually when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, I’m usually choking back tears until they roll down my cheeks. But last night, nothing. Well, nothing but maybe a bit of scepticism. Look, I’ve argued before that because of the AFL’s national reputation and how it’s a cultural phenomenon in Australia, that players and codes standing up for social issues like racism and Aboriginal recognition (e.g. the “Reconciliation Round”), plus it’s condemnation of violence against women is understandable. But such a divisive issue such as gay marriage? The caller who bought this to the attention to Andrew Bolt and Steve Price on 2GB last night who raised the topic and said that he didn’t need “education” or be “lectured to” at an AFL game.
Here is where I guess I worry. I worry that these pushes of such strong political issues, only alienates people. I fear that people, out of being so fatigued, will eventually turn a blind eye to LGBTQ+ issues (if they haven’t already). I fear that same – sex marriage opponents (some of them anyway), will finally spit it. And when all hell has broken loose, the people who are just fatigued by the whole same – sex marriage debate, even if they aren’t necessarily opponents, will give up the fight to combat issues facing the LGBTQ+ community such as suicide, bullying, harassment, being kicked out of home (for young people), etc.
All I’m saying is, give people breathing space. For platforms like AFL or NRL, don’t alienate supporters. Just back off and give people a chance to enjoy the game without any politics or sociology being thrown around. I mean, football is usually on Friday night or the weekend anyway. Isn’t that for a reason?
I’d be falling over if I saw football players having a purple, grey white and black trophy.
What do you think of St. Kilda’s decision next year? Too far or do you agree with it?