SOUTH Sydney Rabbitohs star Tom Burgess has labelled discrimination “old fashioned” in a new video, also featuring his team mate and brother Sam, encouraging people to take part in a survey looking at LGBTI participation in sport.
The move comes as the National Rugby League (NRL) was confirmed as the first major sporting code to join a high profile group for LGBTI-friendly employers.
Launched earlier this month by Wallabies player Adam Ashley-Cooper, the Bingham Cup backed survey asks LGBTI respondents about their experiences playing sport and if homophobia has prevented them from participating.
England-born and raised Tom said the study should shine a light on why players don’t feel comfortable coming out in sporting teams.
“Discrimination in sport is something which is old fashioned,” he said.
“In this day and age, we shouldn’t be discriminating against anyone, for anything.”
His brother Sam also equated homophobia with racism: “I don’t see why there should be any discrimination about colour, sexuality… or where you’re from.
“Sport is a great thing, and it brings people from all different aspects of life together, so why should your sexuality be a problem?”
Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 president Andrew Purchas said having the Burgess’ on board gave a boost to the anti-homophobia campaign.
“[Sam and Tom’s] support for their gay friends and recognition that the only way to eliminate homophobia is to talk about the issue… will send a strong message to players and fans,” he said.
“This is why it’s so important people take part in this study on homophobia in sport in Australia and around the world.
“We need to understand the extent of the problem so we can address it.”
Sam and Tom make up half the Burgess rugby clan with brothers George and Luke also playing for South Sydney Rabittohs.
George raised eyebrows last year when revealing selfie pics of the star began circulating on social media.
Meanwhile, the NRL has become the first sporting organisation to join Pride in Diversity, Australia’s only not-for-profit workplace program to assist employers with the inclusion of LGBTI staff.
The NRL joins organisations such as Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, the Australian Federal Police and IBM in the grouping.
The move follows the league’s recent action in cracking down on homophobic incidents including the two-week suspicion of NSW player Mitchell Moses after a slur at match earlier this month.
NRL boss Dave Smith foreshadowed the tougher stance in April when he said the code should have been, “stronger in our condemnation,” of previous homophobic incidents.
The Burgess brothers’ video can here:
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