jason ball web smlEfforts to address homophobia in the AFL have been labelled as “bullying and browbeating” by the Australian Family Association.

In a statement published on its website on Monday, the AFA urged others to call on AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou to stop showing anti-homophobia commercials on the big screen during matches and a proposed gay pride round during the season.

While the family group stated that bullying for any reason should not be tolerated, they went on to say the anti-homophobia campaign was about “convincing the rest of the community that homosexuality is the same as heterosexuality and normalising the homosexual lifestyle”.

Last September, 30-second commercials from the No To Homophobia campaign were screened during last year’s AFL preliminary finals after openly gay country AFL player Jason Ball collected more than 25,000 signatures urging AFL management to show them.

Since then, it has been reported that round 23 between the Sydney Swans and Hawthorn Hawks might be used to promote sexuality diversity as a “gay pride round”.

This year, Ball was invited to speak with AFL draftees about homophobia and has gone on to become a beyondblue ambassador.

The AFA warned that Ball was a “very articulate, handsome and intelligent young man” who could have had “great influence” over the draftees.

They argued there were no openly gay elite AFL players possibly because they did not want to publicise it.

“A claim is made that there is a homophobic culture in the AFL. It is then treated as a fact and used to insist on the need for the issue of homosexuality to be put up on the big screen at football matches and for a gay-pride round to be held,” the statement read.

“In this way it is thrust in the faces of all the fans that they are impliedly guilty of homophobia and need to be educated not to be. It also deprives the many parents who wish to take their children to games of their right to raise these issues with their children at the appropriate time…”

Here are some reactions to then statement from Twitter:

 

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