Homophobia In Sport
The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee found that sport is not doing enough to tackle homophobic abuse after a three-year study.
Their research found that bans to offenders in any sport are still not long enough, match officials in some sports fail their duty to report examples of homophobia and that there are still no openly gay footballers in England’s professional game.
As part of the report, the chairman of the committee, Danny Collins MP, said: “From the evidence we have received in this inquiry, we believe there are many gay athletes who have not come out, because they are frightened of the impact this decision will have on their careers, and the lives of the people they love.
“That is not acceptable and should not be tolerated.”
The committee called for lengthier bans for examples of homophobia in all sports to both punish offenders and to act as a deterrent for others.
The research began back in 2015 in light of boxer Tyson Fury’s nomination for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award after a series of homophobic Tweets and public outbursts.
In almost three years since then, homophobia is still endemic in sport across the world.
Crystal Palace’s Damien Delaney recently described how during his Premier League career he has seen the levels of racism drop, but homophobia and homophobic chants and insults from the terraces are still commonplace.
Football is not the only guilty party; World Rugby has recently been called to crack down on homophobic behaviour after a series of incidents including Australian full-back Israel Folau’s claim that gay people would go to hell ‘unless they repent their sins’, and France centre Mathieu Bastareaud’s ban after being heard labelling an unnamed member of his Italian opposition a derogatory and highly-offensive term based on his sexual orientation.
And, most recently, Tom Daley spoke about homophobia after winning the synchronised 10 metre platform diving event at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Homosexuality is still illegal in 70% of the 53 Commonwealth countries – Daley described how this made him feel to the BBC.
“You want to feel comfortable in who you are when you are standing on that diving board, and for 37 Commonwealth countries that are here participating, that is not the case,” he said. “I feel extremely lucky to compete openly as who I am not worrying about ramifications. But for lots of people living in those countries it is not the case.”
Daley described how the prospect of travelling to Russia for the World Series next month with his husband, Dustin Black, is a scary prospect, but he is determined to change the country’s perception of homosexuality.
In Russia it is illegal to hold gay pride events, speak in favour of gay rights or even acknowledge that gay relationships are equal to heterosexual relationships – should a country like this be hosting the football World Cup this summer?