Australian Footballer to Gay Players: Stay in the Closet, We're not Ready to Accept You
Jason Akermanis, a player for Australia's Western Bulldogs football club, has written a column for Australian newspaper Herald Sun in reaction to rumors that two players have been offered $150,000 to come out of the closet.
"If a player wants to out himself, then I say good luck. But I believe the world of AFL footy is not ready for it. To come out is unnecessary for a lot of reasons. Imagine the publicity associated with a current player admitting he's gay. It would be international news and could break the fabric of a club. Football clubs are very different environments. Locker room nudity is an everyday part of our lives and unlike any other work place. I believe it would cause discomfort in that environment should someone declare himself gay. I have played with a gay player in the twos for Mayne in Queensland in the mid-1990s who was happy to admit his sexual persuasion. He was a great guy who played his heart out and was respected by everyone in the team. The only time I noticed a difference was when I was showering with 10 other players after a good win and I turned around to see all 10 heading out in a second with their towels. Sure enough, our gay teammate had wandered in. For some reason I felt uncomfortable, so I left. I am sure most players these days would do the same."
Akermanis goes on to say that he's against homophobia, and that he hopes the environment will change for gay players.
But apparently he's not willing to step up and change it himself.