Jason Ball and AFL work to stamp out homophobia
The AFL has produced a documentary featuring out gay Yarra Glen footballer, Jason Ball, to show the effects of homophobic vilification; in an effort to rid the game and its players of homophobic attitudes.
The documentary, part of the Respect and Responsibility program, also includes education on racial and religious vilification.
The AFL hopes the move to stamp out homophobia in the code will welcome more gay fans, players and officials to the sport.
The AFL has confirmed the Respect and Responsibility program will also include education for all first to third year players on the impact of homophobia.
In the documentary Ball speaks out about the slurs he suffered on field and how he contemplated suicide over his fear of coming out.
Last year Ball took part in a 'train the trainer' session where he shared his story with coaches from across the league.
Ball told The Age: After hearing my story they had a lot of empathy and realised that a lot of players within their own football leagues could be in the same position, and they really didn't know what to do if an incident came up or if a gay player approached them about facing discrimination. They showed a great level of concern and were keen to know the answers to those questions.”
Ball has been instrumental in lobbying the AFL to remove homophobia and discrimination in from the code. In 2012 after his insistence, the AFL began screening anti-homophobia ads during the finals.
An AFL spokesman said ''the AFL is continuing its efforts to promote social inclusion and acceptance across a number of fronts, including mental health, homophobia and racial and religious vilification. The personal stories of people such as Jason Ball are a powerful way of creating greater awareness and understanding."
Jason shares his story in the video below.