Yesterday, members of the LGBT sports community and straight allies began meeting at Nike Headquarters in Oregon for their first ever LGBT Sports Summit. Representatives include our friend Patrick Burke at the You Can Play Project, Athlete Ally’s Hudson Taylor, GLSEN’s Changing the Game, and ESPN.
The summit aims to bring groups together to talk about homophobia and transphobia in sports and share ideas and come up with a game plan to combat them.
A soccer-related highlight, though, is former rugby player, Stand Up Foundation founder, and all-around hottie Ben Cohen making a trip to Jeld-Wen field last night.
Yesterday, Italy striker Antonio Cassano said he hopes there aren’t any gay players on his National Team (using an Italian derogatory term for gay people.)
A Swedish newspaper contacted out player Anton Hysén for his reaction (translation via The Guardian):
I don’t understand how a role model such as Antonio Cassano can say something like that. It is sad and I don’t understand how someone who is playing at that level can say something like that. He is a big name in the game and a role model for others. It is not good. It is difficult to know how to deal with things like this. I can’t get involved but the Italian Football Federation must look into it. Something can always be done.
Anton’s half brother Tobias is a forward for the Swedish squad at the Euros, currently facing their own issues with some hazing-type behavior after their first-game loss.
Italian National Team and AC Milan forward Antonio Cassano was asked today in Poland about rumors of closeted gay players on his team.
“Poofs in the national team? That’s their problem. But I hope not”.
The word in Italian he used was froci, which is slang that can be translated to mean “poof” or f*g.” Most media outlets just report that he used a “derogatory word toward gays.”
This is incredibly appalling considering if there are closeted players on the team, they fell all the more unwelcome on the team.
Update: Cassano later apologized (translation via Twitter user @agiamba): “I am truly sorry that my comments caused controversy and offended gay rights associations. I do not share the sentiments of homophobia, I didn’t want to offend anyone or call into question people’s sexual choices. I only said it’s an issue that doesn’t relate to me, and I don’t want to judge others choices, they should be respected.”
Choices? Clearly Cassano needs much more education into LGBT issues based on how he worded his weak “sorry that I offended people” apology.
Also today at Euro 2012 there are clashes between Russian and Polish fans (AP reports violence, ESPN says peaceful), a Polish city official thanked guests to his city for behaving like “civilized white people” and UEFA finally started looking into racist taunts directed toward Mario Balotelli.
German GLBT anti-violence group Maneo created the following poster ahead of their country hosting the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but it’s getting a lot of buzz now that it’s Euro 2012 time and the spotlight is on the host countries’ less-than-stellar records when it comes to civil rights:
With such disturbing news coming out of the Ukraine in the past weeks, it’s good to see more positive signs in the other host country for Euro 2012.
Warsaw Pride was this past weekend, and Polish lawmaker used the opportunity to deck out the Euro 2012 mascots in pride gear.
“Justin,” about the life and death of Justin Fashanu, as well as the current anti-homopobia work done in his name, will screen at Frameline 36 in San Francisco this month. Check out the trailer, and the film’s screening if you’re in the Bay Area.
Our writer Adam has to be a proud Northeastern University alumnus. First the Huskies successfully keep Chick Fil A off their campus, and now the whole Athletics Department comes together to make this video for the You Can Play Project.
It’s amazing to see a college athletics program not only say “We’re okay with LGBT athletes,” but also say, “We welcome and invite LGBT athletes.”
Great to see a college soccer team participate in the You Can Play project, and the University of Ottawa’s cross-sport offering is also the first bilingual YCP video.
Well, our all-May recruitment push to get Major League Soccer players to join our Soccer Allies list was a huge success. Here are some vital stats:
- Nearly 60 MLS players joined the list as part of our recruitment campaign
- This nearly triples the MLS player representation on the list
- There are now 95 MLS players on the list.
- Every team added at least one more player, with the biggest increase being seven.
- Not only did many more senior team players join the list, more supporters groups, media outlets, staff, and even our first academy players signed on.