Despite comments from outspoken Western Bulldog forward Jason Akermanis, AFL players are still saying no to homophobia this week.
The AFL Players Association, in partnership with national youth mental health organisation Headspace, have produced a 30-second commercial which will appear on free-to-air television in the coming days.
North Melbourne’s Drew Petrie and Hawthorn’s Brad Sewell have lent their support on film with a message that AFL “is for everybody”.
Headspace CEO Chris Tanti said help from high-profile AFL players to address the issue was a positive step forward.
“AFL players standing up to homophobia will go a long way to removing the stigma some sections of our community still attach to gays and lesbians,” he said.
“We know young people are up to three times more likely than their heterosexual firneds to attempt suicide and in rural and regional areas the attempted suicide rate for same-sex attracted young people is six times the average population.
“It is no longer okay for us to pretend there isn’t a problem , because the health and wellbeing of thousands of young Australian’s is at serious risk and that’s something that should concern everyone.”
See the video: AFL anti-homophobia TV advertisement