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Anti-Gay Footballer Creates Storm of Publicity After Young Footballer Comes Out, Launches Anti-Homophobia Campaign

Amateur footballer Jake Ball is making news in Australia after coming out of the closet and launching a campaign urging the AFL to air anti-homophobia videos during this month's grand final and stage a "pride round" celebrating diversity.

The Age reports: Ball

''It was the one place I never thought I'd be able to come out. Ever. It just felt like a really hostile environment. I worried I'd be bullied, maybe I'd get kicked out of the side, maybe the opposition would treat me differently or I'd get abuse [from supporters] over the fence,'' he told The Sunday Age. ''I didn't know any footballers who were gay, so I could only assume the worst, and it scared me.''

The 24-year-old, who plays for Yarra Glen seniors in the Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League, is a rare voice in a football world that gay groups say is struggling to come to terms with homosexuality in its ranks.

While such groups agree sexuality is a private matter, they say it is significant that no AFL players have revealed their homosexuality.

For Ball, publicly coming out was unnecessary. His teammates figured it out and were supportive. The homophobic language stopped. ''It was like they could see those words have an effect on people because it was hurting me, one of their mates.''

AkermanisBall's article was met with a big "Who Cares?" over Twitter by AFL player Jason Akermanis. You may remember Akermanis made headlines in 2010 for telling gay players to stay in the closet because they wouldn't be welcome in the sport.

The Sydney Morning Herald writes:

Akermanis, who caused a media storm in mid-2010 when he wrote a newspaper column advising gay Australian footballers to stay in the closet because the "world of AFL footy" was not ready to accept them, has again dipped his toe into the debate.

When Channel Nine journalist Clint Stanaway yesterday promoted Ball's "brave" story on Twitter, Akermanis responded "Who Cares?" from his @Jakermanis account. Akermanis received a stream of angry messages from people in response, but his post also prompted the creation of Twitter comment stream #WeCareJason, which has also attracted hundreds of messages of support for Ball's campaign.

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Comments

  1. Hmmmm...

    Dyed Hair, meticulously-tailored goatee...

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Sep 10, 2012 9:58:00 AM


  2. Its Great post for gay men

    Posted by: Adult Smart | Sep 10, 2012 10:07:03 AM


  3. Akermanis......"Who cares ?"
    You do, apparently, because your loud mouth
    can't seem to prevent your bigotry slopping out.

    Akerman will be swept away as soon as Australians grow balls.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Sep 10, 2012 10:08:00 AM


  4. While I understand the point about young gay men getting depressed because of a lack of social acceptance, have you ever stopped to think that it might be the gay scene that's doing the depressing?

    I've been on the scene for years and noticed that gay men's bars can be awfully depressing. It's because they are based on sex. There is no room for any other source of happiness except for sex. If you went to an ordinary bar, you'd at least meet people who don't care how you look or whether you're their type.

    Gay men's bars are thus extremely narrow in terms of what they are based on. Additionally, you've got the awful appearance fascism that gay men are famous for, including their predilections for bears, twinks and goodness knows what other variety exists in this bizarre world of theirs. If you don't fit the bill, you're frozen out.

    Seriously, I think that we need to consider the fact that it is the gay men's scene itself which causes some of the depression that gay men experience.

    Posted by: jason | Sep 10, 2012 10:20:24 AM


  5. Akermanis looks like an old age gay pornstar and so is his name. I had to look at the letters of his name to type it. Don't even feel to bother myself with pronouncing his name, I'll rather write this comment. Akermanis..huh. whatever.

    Posted by: Pommie | Sep 10, 2012 10:22:50 AM


  6. @Jason: You might be living in a rural area with sub-standards brothels which you happen to think as gay bars

    Posted by: Pommie | Sep 10, 2012 10:29:17 AM


  7. Pommie,

    No, in fact I live in a big city. I've seen gay bars where the prevailing philosophy is the type of look one has. Gay appearance fascism at its worst, I'm afraid.

    Posted by: jason | Sep 10, 2012 10:31:58 AM


  8. Jason you sound just like one of those straight guys who complains about going out to the bards and how all the women ignore them if they don't have six figure incomes and look like Brad Pit. Or maybe a straight women who complains about how all the guys ignore them if they don't have huge breasts etc.etc. Bars tend to be sex markets always have been and always will be. Perhaps the real reason your "frozen out" is your I'm superior to you attitude.

    Posted by: unreligious | Sep 10, 2012 10:32:42 AM


  9. @ Jason :

    You are going to the wrong bars !

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Sep 10, 2012 10:36:33 AM


  10. @Jason
    If you're afraid then just go and hide under a blanket. Stop trolling. Just disappear. I bet, your big town would be just as big as you think your brain is.

    Posted by: Pommie | Sep 10, 2012 10:37:19 AM


  11. Great tweets supporting Jake #WeCareJason.

    Posted by: Sylvatica | Sep 10, 2012 10:38:03 AM


  12. Jason:

    If you think gay bars are only about sex, perhaps that's because that's all you look for when you go to gay bars. I've gone for sex, gone for drinking with friends, gone to socialize and meet new people (with no sexual interest at all). I'll grant that the whole time, there is an undercurrent of sexual possibility, and that that sometimes complicates budding friendships, but anyone with an iota of social know-how can navigate those waters.

    Posted by: Dan E | Sep 10, 2012 10:44:14 AM


  13. It's obvious Jason just says things to piss people off, he's not even slick about it anymore.

    I've never gone to a gay bar for sex or to pick up guys. I go to hang out with my friends, grab some drinks and maybe dance a little. If I get hit on or meet someone, nice, if not, who cares?

    Posted by: BEAHBEAH | Sep 10, 2012 11:04:52 AM


  14. Don't go to gay bars. Unless you're in a place with nothing but a gay bar 50 miles away, there should be plenty of ways to socialize without a bar. If there isn't, start one.

    Posted by: Ben in Oakland | Sep 10, 2012 11:10:25 AM


  15. @JASON I gotta hand it to ya. After I picked myself up off the floor from laughing so goddam much, I had to re-read what you wrote! I get it now. You're a straight, evangie-fundie troll. And a clueless one at that.

    Honey, let me hip ya to a few things:

    Generally, bars exist for one thing--to sell liquor. What goes on in the bar is incidental and irrelevant. Bars are in the business of making money. Period.

    Any bar is depressing, straight or gay. I don't know, though, which gay bars you go to, but if you're the small-town twerp I think you are, it's probably true that your bar is depressing. Seeing the same people night after night, sitting alone as you do, with no social interaction because you're such a troll can be depressing. But it's not the bar's fault or its clientele's fault.

    Any venue can be used for sex, Jason. I figure you would know that since you probably hit the truck stops on your way home from your depressing bar.

    Perhaps you can write back and explain "appearance fascism". Better yet, um, you can explain how you know about "predilections for bears, twinks and goodness knows what other variety exists in this bizarre world of theirs".

    Sounds to me like you've been taking notes, my sweet little troll bubula, even if you can't read your own handwriting.

    Anyway, keep posting, Jason. It is so damned good to laugh and you write some of the damnedest, funny sh*t.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Sep 10, 2012 2:53:21 PM


  16. Jason Akermanis is considered a joke here in Oz. When he opens his mouth, we all know he's about to put his foot in it - and get it completely wrong.

    Posted by: andrew | Sep 10, 2012 5:16:24 PM


  17. A male with bleached-blond hair is a very curious person to be saying homophobic things.

    I hope, at minimum, he has zero endorsement income.

    He comes across as an uber-creep. I wouldn't want him on my town's team.

    Posted by: Card cap | Sep 10, 2012 8:14:11 PM


  18. Jason is the little kiwi of the right.

    Posted by: andrew | Sep 11, 2012 12:04:16 AM


  19. The thing that I hate most about Jason is that he causes me to side with Little Kiwi. That is an unforgiveable sin.

    Posted by: andrew | Sep 11, 2012 12:09:12 AM


  20. Personally, I love gay bars. Gay bars give us a safe haven to meet fellows gays and feel free of harrasment, and know you have one identifiable trait with everyone there. Some people like to over think things. Sometimes a gay bar is just a gay bar. Grab a group of your friends and go have fun.

    Posted by: Art Smith | Sep 11, 2012 3:47:12 AM


  21. This post of Art Smith seems reasonable but all should know that he is an A$$hole of the first order.

    Posted by: andrew | Sep 11, 2012 6:32:37 AM


  22. I have a question for Jason (the troll posting above): What the h3ll is "the gay scene"? I thought that concept when out with the 70s. Where I live I think anyone under 35 would have *no* idea what you're talking about--gay or straight.

    Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC | Sep 11, 2012 7:04:16 AM


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