Australian rugby star David Pocock took a stand against homophobic language during a recent match, and his passionate outcry is being met with both admiration and criticism.
Multiple players on the Brumbies informed their teammate Pocock that a player on their opponents’ team, the Waratahs, was using derogatory antigay slurs to put them down.
26-year-old Pocock, who was formerly the captain of Australia’s national team, has a track record of advocating for LGBT rights, and approached a referee mid-game to bring attention to the situation, informing him that two players had been called “faggots.”
He said afterwards:
“As players, we’ve said the Brumbies aren’t going to tolerate any homophobic slurs, I just made that clear to the referee that it’s unacceptable. You can be the toughest man in the world, but it’s got nothing to do with using that sort of language.”
The incident played out in front of 27,000 fans, with the referee stating the it was “unacceptable.” No official punishments were doled out, though an investigation is currently underway.
While many (including us) praise Pocock for taking a stand, his actions have come under fire from some rugby fans. Here’s the general argument:
“Says Rod, of Surry Hills: “Has sport come to this? I don’t agree with comments like that, but neither do I agree with making such an issue of it. Pocock knows the player(s) involved, and he’d be better served having a stern word to them during the game, or after the game. To bring the referee into it is unnecessary, in my view, although I’m sure plenty of the PC crowd will disagree.”
Pocock naturally has a different take. He said:
“In many ways what happens in sport reflects what’s happening in society. The tide has turned on this, becoming more inclusive and moving towards acceptance and marriage equality at some point is going to happen. I very much see sport playing a role in that.”