Cricket Australia (CA) has joined the Australian Football League, Australia Rugby Union, National Rugby League and Football Federation of Australia at a historic event in Sydney today to commit to eliminating homophobia in sport.
In a world-first, all the major professional sports in Australia have collectively committed to tackle discrimination based on sexual orientation through the Anti-Homophobia and Inclusion Framework. This includes an agreement to implement anti-homophobia and inclusion policies by the end of August 2014 to coincide with The Bingham Cup 2014, the World Cup of Gay Rugby.
Nathan Lyon, Alex Blackwell and CA Executive General Manager Media, Communications & Marketing Ben Amarfio, represented Australian Cricket this afternoon alongside representatives and past and present players from other sports to pledge their support for the framework.
“We aspire for cricket to be a sport for all Australians,” said CA Executive General Manager Media, Communications & Marketing, Ben Amarfio. “That means creating an environment that recognises, accepts and celebrates our differences.
“Cricket’s playing conditions state cricket should not only be played within the laws but also the Spirit of the Game including respect for teammates and opponents alike.
“It should go without saying that all athletes deserve to be treated equally and judged on their performances and contribution to their sport, not their sexual orientation.
“At grass roots level, Australian Cricket endorses the Play By The Rules education program which amongst another things seeks to stamp out homophobic attitudes and behaviours within cricket clubs.”
Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars vice-captain Alex Blackwell added: “It’s a really significant day to see sport unite on this important issue.
“I’m proud that my sport, cricket, is taking a leadership position in stamping out homophobia in sport. It’s about cricket creating a welcoming environment for all sections of our community regardless of race, gender, religious beliefs or sexuality. It’s a really positive step.”
Australia Test off-spinner Nathan Lyon said: “Sport should be a place where everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or otherwise, feels supported and encouraged. As long as a teammate has the same desire, passion and commitment to the team as I do, that’s enough for me.”
Blackwell and Australian men’s Head Coach Darren Lehmann have also signed up as ambassadors to support the framework.
A 30-second anti-homophobia Community Service Announcement (CSA) was also premiered at today’s event. It features Australian cricketers Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris, as well as Harry Kewell (Football), Alessandro Del Piero (Football), Paul Gallen (Rugby League), Nate Myles (Rugby League), David Pocock (Rugby Union), Lauren Jackson (Basketball), Nathan Jones (Australian Rules), Sam Mitchell (Australian Rules), Kim Green (Netball) and Libby Trickett (Swimming).
The CSA was produced for Play by the Rules, an organisation that helps prevent discrimination and harassment in sport. It will be aired nationally this year on TV and at venues.
The CSA can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX57IUyL43s
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James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
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