England's Soccer Stars Kick Homophobia Out

December 30, 2008
David Beckham

David Beckham

NASCAR, football, baseball and basketball could all vie for most popular professional sport in America. But there's no arguing that in England, soccer (or football as it's known there) reigns as number one (with cricket and rugby a close second/third). That's why it's highly encouraging that The Football Association, the governing body of soccer in England, is working on a promotional video starring high-profile players speaking out against homophobia. According to The Guardian, the FA is teaming up with the Professional Footballers' Association, the players' union, Kick It Out, the sport's diversity and inclusion campaign, and Peter Tatchell, of gay rights group Outrage! to create the video. Details haven't emerged yet but organizers hope to get soccer sensations David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, Sol Campbell, David James, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole and Cristiano Ronaldo to take part. Danny Lynch of Kick It Out said, "When we were set up 15 years ago, monkey chanting and banana throwing was commonplace, but football has changed and you just don't see that kind of behavior any more. But in the absence of traditional racist abuse, we have seen this sharp rise in homophobic abuse and dealing with it is now a key part of our remit." This is the second major professional sport in Great Britain to support LGBT equality. Recently the United Kingdom's Rugby Football League announced that it would start pro-LGBT advertisements on rugby grounds and in programs and fanzines. It will also conduct a forum for staff and players when the season begins in March. Let's hope these groundbreaking campaigns cross the pond to professional sporting leagues here in the States. Paging David Stern.