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Jason Ball and AFL work to stamp out homophobia
Jan21

Jason Ball and AFL work to stamp out homophobia

LAST UPDATED // Tuesday, 21 January 2014 11:16 Written by // Cec Busby

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.

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Cec Busby

Cec Busby

Cec Busby is the news editor of SX and GayNewsNetwork.com.au.

Comments (2)

  • Simonzee1

    10 April 2014 at 09:17 |
    What I resent is anyone that disagees with gay marriage or gay relationships is called a “homophope.” How is that different from calling a person an “ape.” It’s just reverse discrimination. As we saw with the forced resignation of the CEO of Mozilla even gay people lament that a new fascism is at work. One of the things we believe in as a country is freedom of association not forced association. I wonder how many felt uncomfortable about being dragged into the spotlight by this issue. Did they have a choice? No!One thing is for sure is that if and when gay appreciation officers are sent to your footy club and start preaching to your kids you should feel free tell them to “P#@# off!” as any normal person would do when being bombarded by anything you don’t agree with. That’s freedom of speech and association. People are free to have a religion but not free to push it on everyone else when they are trying to enjoy their free time on the weekend. That’s not homophobia…that’s freedom. Don’t confuse the two.
    • Derek Williams

      17 April 2014 at 01:57 |
      Being homosexual isn't a "lifestyle choice" that you can "disagree with". You may as well disagree with people being Jewish, or left handed. These aren't things that people choose, it is the way we are born. You have no more business 'disagreeing' with my relationship with my male partner, than I have disagreeing with yours with your opposite sex partner. Yours doesn't affect me any more than mine affects you.

      As for the Mozilla CEO, he wasn't sacked, he resigned of his own free will. He could have stuck it out but I don't see it as tenable for someone who is opposed to homosexuality being in charge of hiring and firing employees, some of whom could be gay or lesbian, or of administering the Mozilla policy in general terms, which recognises partners of same sex married couples, that he is resolutely opposed to.

      It's not the same as a private individual working for the same company who certainly has the right to dislike gay people or our relationships, and to freely express his or her opinion on the matter. When you're a CEO, and your personal world view is at loggerheads with your employer, there is a clear conflict of interests.

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