Sheffield Eagles to show support against homophobia in sports
Although the campaign to stop homophobia in sports is in full swing this year, many are still questioning if it’s really attainable to stop prejudice against gays in sports. Earlier this year, Manuel Neuer, captain of German football club FC Schalke 04, had stated his support for gay footballers. But many have called him naïve for thinking it would be that easy for other people to accept gay players in football.
Last February 5, before a game between Montpelier and Saint-Etienne, both teams posed in front of a sign bearing the words “Carton Rouge à l’Homophobie” (Red Card to Homophobia). On the same day, however, there were fans who displayed a banner with the words “Bande de tafiole, soyez des hommes” (You bunch of faggots: Be men) written on it.
This month, the Sheffield Eagles, a rugby league team based in South Yorkshire, UK, will be wearing the a shirt with the slogan, “Homophobia: Tackle It!” during their game against Widnes Vikings.
The club’s director, Chris Nobile, after attending an LGBT workshop at the Rugby Football League Equality and Diversity conference, decided to take a stand against homophobia by letting the team wear the specially branded shirts to announce their support to stop homophobia in rugby.
The team has also teamed up with the Rugby Football league. Richard Lewis, chairman of the Rugby Football League, said that, “at the RFL we are committed to eradicating all traces of discrimination from our sport and we have made great strides in recent years and the commitment of the Eagles side to wear the specially designed kits is just the latest step forwards for the sport.”
On the same day, the team will also be presented with a trophy, the Pride Sports Challenge cup, which will recognize Rugby League teams supporting the LGBT history month.
It is important to note that the team is the first professional club in UK to sport a blatant anti-homophobia campaign. Because of what happened in France, however, we can only wait and hope that this will result positively, and will help enlighten fans about the issue regarding homophobia in sports.