Burgess Brothers say no to homophobia in sport
Rabbitoh’s star players, the Burgess Brothers, are the latest sportsmen to add their voice to the quest to put an end to homophobia in sport.
“We have a lot of gay friends and think that discrimination in sport is old fashioned and there is no place for it. In this day and age, we shouldn’t be discriminating against anyone, for anything,” said Tom Burgess.
The brothers have joined teammate Greg Inglis in calling for an end to homophobia and urge LGBTI people to take part in the Out on the Fields study on homophobia in sport, in order that a better understanding can be gained on why players feel unsafe coming out.
"I don’t see why there should be any discrimination about colour, sexuality, your heritage or where you’re from," Sam Burgess said. "Sport is a great thing, and it brings people from all different aspects of life together, so why should your sexuality be a problem? The only way we are going to understand the issue is if people get out there and tell their story so we can help fix it."
VIDEO: The Burgess Brothers show their support for Out on the Fields
The Out on the Fields study is an initiative of the organisers of Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 and is the first broad-based Australian and international study on the issue of homophobia in sport.
Participation is open to everyone regardless of sexuality. Among other things, the study looks at whether people choose not to play team sports because of fear of discrimination as well as the prevalence of homophobia, such as slurs, amongst athletes and fans.
Andrew Purchas, founder of the Sydney Convicts and president of the Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 said Sam and Tom Burgess’ efforts to stand up against homophobia would send a message to players and fans.
"Sam and Tom Burgess are highly respected locally and overseas for their no nonsense approach to football," Purchas said. "Their support for their gay friends and recognition that the only way to eliminate homophobia is to talk about the issue and encourage people to tell their stories will send a strong message to players and fans.”
Purchas said the Out on the Fields study will provide a greater understanding of the reach of homophobia in sports.
“This is why it’s so important people take part in this study on homophobia in sport in Australia and around the world. We need to understand the extent of the problem so we can address it now and we have a baseline to track whether there have been any changes over the coming years.
Purchas stressed it only takes ten minutes to complete the study and encouraged everyone with an interest in sport to take part.
The backing from the Burgess Brothers follows support from NRL player Greg Inglis, who attended an announcement in April by all the major Australian professional sports codes who pledged to ‘eliminate’ homophobia. At the time Inglis said homophobia in sport needs to end. "If you stamp that out, then it will probably help players that come out a bit more. I'm a big believer, a firm believer, in respecting what others are and who they are. I'm definitely happy to put my hand up and be one of the leaders behind this great initiative."
The NRL also recently joined the LGBTI workplace inclusion program, Pride in Diversity, becoming the first sporting member organisation.
"We appreciate that the NRL is tackling head on the issue of homophobia in sports," Purchas said. "They responded swiftly and decisively to the recent homophobic slur during the U20 State of Origin match and recently became first football code to join Pride in Diversity, Australia’s peak body for employer GLBT programs.”
Out on the Fields is being conducted by sports research company Repucom. The results and final report will be reviewed by researchers at six universities around the world.
To take part in the study visit www.outonthefields.com
Watch the Burgess brother's anti homophobia message