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Sanctions for 'stay in the closet' footballer

Tue 1 Jun 2010 In: International News View at Wayback

Jason Akermanis Melbourne AFL player Jason Akermanis has been banned from top grade football for two games for a newspaper column where he told gay players they should stay in the closet. His club, the Western Bulldogs, says he will play in the lower VFL for two games, once he has recovered from a hamstring injury. Akermanis has also been banned from any media activities for three weeks. It says it wants to make it clear it has been supportive of his entitlement to maintain third party media arrangements. "However, the club sought and obtained Jason's agreement before he entered any such contract that all written articles be first approved by the club. The reason we sought such a process was to ensure that no senior representative of our club would publish views which are contrary to the fundamental values of the club." The Western Bulldogs statement says if it had seen the article, it would never have been approved. In the column in the Herald Sun, Akermanis wrote that someone declaring himself gay would cause discomfort in the sport's environment. "Imagine the publicity associated with a current player admitting he's gay. It would be international news and could break the fabric of a club," he wrote. "Football clubs are very different environments. Locker room nudity is an everyday part of our lives and unlike any other work place." Akermanis went on to tell the Nine Network footballers are at their peak of masculinity, which means homophobia is "almost at its peak". "Some footballers think there's something wrong with people, they have some kind of disease."    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Tuesday, 1st June 2010 - 10:07pm

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