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AFL not ready for out players?

Both the AFL and the public aren’t ready for an out gay football player, according to footy journalist Damien Barrett.

Speaking on Triple M’s Mid Week Rub discussing the athletes that have come out overseas, Barrett was asked his thoughts the local landscape.

“If you ask me the question, if the AFL are ready… I don’t think the public are either,” he said. “What would go on around the situation would be pretty brutal, and I fear that, because I think we in the media are more than ready for that moment.

“There are people in football who are going through what we are talking about now and I don’t see them moving to a position where they are going to be able to do it in the future. And I think it’s an indictment on this country.”

Have a listen below.

Former footballer Jason Dunstall agreed with Barrett, feeling it would be taxing for any AFL player who came out as a homosexual, but many comments on the Triple M Facebook page disagreeing with the statement.

“I think Barrett would be surprised at how accepting people can be if given the chance,” responds out Melbourne Yarra Valley Mountain District footballer”: Jason Ball on his Facebook wall.

“Just look at how Robbie Rogers, Jason Collins and Michael Sam have been embraced overseas, and the positive impact their coming out has had for their respective sporting codes.”

Earlier this year Ball (pictured above) marched as an athletes ally in Pride March alongside footballer Brock McClean. He’s been talking to football teams about homophobia and discrimination, and earlier this week the AFL launched a video on their website where Ball spoke about homophobia as part of the AFL’s Respect and Responsibility program. You can check out the Jason’s Journey video here.

Meanwhile today, in a piece entitled Cricket Australia still stumped by homophobia, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Webster says Aussie cricket is ignoring any efforts which would make the sport more inclusive, while other codes embrace new frameworks which battle homophobia in sport. You can read the article here.

Comments arrow left

Virgindirk said on the 17th Mar, 2014

I pretty much have to agree that many parts of the AFL/NRL football communities are not ready for an out player.

I came across on Youtube video of a rather hot looking reporter doing a street talking segment at the Mardi Gras parade for channel 9's NRL footy show. The segment itself was rather condescending. Taking the piss out of the 'freaks and weirdos' much to the delight of the audience. Although it hasn't got much to do with the NRL as a organisation it does speak volumes about the attitudes of its supporters towards diversity and tolerance .Just my view.


local_warming said on the 17th Mar, 2014

If an NFL player can come out in Missouri, then I think the AFL is "ready" for a gay player. I remember an interview with Eddie maguire from about 7 years ago, where he reckoned that he could rattle off 25 current (back then) gay AFL players, without having to think too much about it - so if that's the case, with a club administrator being aware of it to that level, then I imagine the majority of their team mates would be aware of it too, even if it's not something that they regularly discuss openly to protect the players privacy

Patrick Kelly

Patrick Kelly said on the 17th Mar, 2014

I don't care if the AfL are ready, but if they player(s) are then let them.


Enquvist said on the 17th Mar, 2014

Wow such short memories we have. Anyone remember this guy? Ian Roberts (rugby league) (born 1965), Australian actor and former rugby league player well known for being the first openly gay rugby player.


Virgindirk said on the 17th Mar, 2014

He announced his sexuality after his retirement didn't he?


TheOldie said on the 17th Mar, 2014

pffttt as if

unless they are steroid/drug dropping/beer guzzling/rampant loons they will never be accepted.

Matt Akersten

Matt Akersten said on the 18th Mar, 2014

Cricket Australia has done a dramatic about-face and joined the four major football codes in moving towards adopting anti-homophobia policy, reports Fairfax:

Read more:


coast_boy_21 said on the 18th Mar, 2014

The first aboriginal player in AFL history would have been a big deal years ago, even though it shouldn't have been. This is no different.


Lachness said on the 20th Mar, 2014

Until society brings down the sportsman from their hegemonic pedestal, we will continue to experience homophobia in sport.


MrAsh said on the 20th Mar, 2014

pffttt as if

unless they are steroid/drug dropping/beer guzzling/rampant loons they will never be accepted.

You just described most of Perth!