This article is from the Herald Sun:
Stay in the closet, Jason Akermanis tells gay players
A LEADING footballer has told gay players who are thinking of coming out to stay in the closet – because the world of AFL isn’t ready to accept them.
Writing in today’s Herald Sun, Jason Akermanis said the football world simply couldn’t deal with a gay player publicly outing himself.
He also said it would prove to be too much of a burden for a player to become the first person to come out in AFL.
“I believe the world of AFL footy is not ready for it. To come out is unnecessary for a lot of reasons,” he writes.
“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.”
Akermanis said he was all for initiatives that helped to lessen public bias against homosexuality but that football was not one of them.
“I know there are many who think a public AFL outing would break down homophobia, but they don’t live in football clubs,” Akermanis said.
“We have made massive steps in other areas of society and in time I hope the environment changes to a degree where coming out isn’t a big deal.”
The Western Bulldogs player said that while coming out was more acceptable in women’s sports, it remained less so in men’s.
In 1995, rugby league star Ian Roberts announced he was gay, becoming the first person in the history of the sport to do so, attracting both admiration and support.