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Rugby needs to lead the way, Wall says

Sun 10 May 2015 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Louisa Wall The gauntlet is being thrown down to the administrators of New Zealand rugby to lead the way on combating homophobia in sport. The world’s first study of homophobia in sport has found that of the six nations surveyed, New Zealanders athletes are the most likely to hide their sexuality from their teammates. Find out more about the study here “It reveals bullying from teammates and discrimination from coaches and officials is widespread and often leads to players dropping out of team sports,” says Louisa Wall, Labour’s openly-lesbian Associate Sport and Recreation spokesperson and a former Black Fern and Silver Fern. “It found that in New Zealand 30 per cent of gay men were more likely than gay men in any other country to play rugby union but were the most likely to keep their sexuality secret in both youth and adult sports because of verbal abuse, bullying, threats and physical abuse. “That must surely inspire rugby at all levels to do better.” Wall points out that in April last year CEOs from Australia's major sporting codes - Australian rules, rugby, rugby league, football, cricket and netball – all signed an agreement committing to ensuring a welcoming and safe environment for players, coaches, and fans regardless of sexual identity and committed to ending homophobia in sport. “If the administrators of New Zealand Rugby can't see or won't recognize we have a problem based on the findings of this study then there is a deficit in leadership. New Zealand codes could easily replicate what their Australian counterparts have done. “It wouldn’t be hard.”      

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Sunday, 10th May 2015 - 9:50am

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