Members of the Sydney Convicts gay rugby club will speak out against homophobia in sport while making their first appearance on Channel Nine’s The Footy Show this Thursday night.

The non-professional Union players asked to go on the show after the airing of a controversial skit about the Johns brothers. The request was welcomed by The Footy Show ‘s executive producer Gary Burns, who thought the Convicts would make a fun and informative segment.

The main reason we want to go on the show is to provide a face for gay rugby players to the mainstream media and general public, Convicts club president Charlie Winn said.

We’re only seeing this as a part of the solution and we’re not trying to in any way say that everything’s hunky-dory.

Our appearance is only part of the gay and lesbian community’s response to a skit that clearly turned sour and went over the line. We respect that others are calling for various other actions but by going on the show we will send a message that you can be gay, play sport and be welcomed, he said, referring to an impending legal suit against the show by gay activist Gary Burns.

The show’s executive producer denied claims that the team’s invitation to the show was about buying favour in the lead-up to this court action.

It is definitely about raising awareness about gays in football and sport and putting a face to the gay male -” that it’s not just men partying during Mardi Gras, but it is also to demonstrate that we have no phobias. We have no case to answer so we have no fear of anything legally, Burns said.

The Footy Show has always been open to people of all genders, sexualities and creeds. We have never considered anything we’ve done to be homophobic or discriminatory against any part of society.

info: The Footy Show airs on Channel Nine Thursday 9pm. For more information on the Convicts visit sydneyconvicts.org.

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