While only a brief mention here on our television news, the football team San Diego Loyal’s move to walk off the pitch midway through a game following a alleged homophobic slur against one of their players certainly brought international attention to the issue.
Allegations of racist and homophobic insults have of course been made before, however, are quickly forgotten. What makes it different this time was the fact that the team acted. I can’t remember a permanent walk off happening anywhere previously (though I assume it has).
This team forfeited a game, a game crucial to their playoff hopes and a game they were winning easily. That was a big call.
Now I don’t want to get too involved in talking about the actual slur – for the simple reason the player absolutely denied saying it (though he was found guilty in a disciplinary hearing). There are also so many other points that could be discussed, like the fact that homosexual sports people tend not to come out while playing – especially in male sports.
What I do want to talk about, and in fact celebrate, is the values behind the San Diego players feeling strongly enough and comfortable enough to make such a stand.
Landon Donovan, their coach, explained that their values state: Speak out. Take Action.
I find these simple words to be quite awe inspiring. If you think something is wrong, take the responsibility to SPEAK OUT. Speaking out is never enough, you also need to take the responsibility to ACT.
If you want to make a difference, a real difference, have the courage to speak out and take action.
It can be hard and it can really hurt but if professional footballers can basically throw away their whole season, then surely we can follow their lead?
- OK I didn’t want to talk about the whole homophobia thing in sport but it would be remiss of me not to congratulate the many women’s sports in NZ where, from a spectator view at least, this simply isn’t an issue. Well doesn’t seem an issue at the top levels, I’m sure individuals have still had their struggles, though probably more with non-elite sports people rather than peers/opposition. It really should be a non-issue but we do live in a funny world!