Professional sports remains a tricky battlefield in the fight to curb homophobia. The “boys club” mentality, the long tradition of using gay slurs to put down other teams and the inherent straight-guy locker room fear of accidentally showing attraction to other guys all keep the hate speech afloat. That’s oversimplifying it, of course, but the point is — the problem persists.
And the only real solution can come from within. Players can be suspended, fined or slapped on the wrist and nothing is going to change. Hell, even ESPN reported recently on Michael Sam’s locker room activities, proving middle-school attitudes persist even at the professional level.
Here’s one new campaign — #RainbowLaces — that we commend for actually getting the players involved. They’ve enlisted the help of footballers from Paddy Power, Arsenal, The Gay Football Supporters Network and more to send Rainbow Laces to every professional football player and club in Britain.
They’re asking players to wear the laces during the weekend of 13/14 September to show their support for kicking homophobia out of the game.
Players may not be able to change how perfect their hair is:
How tall they are:
Or how drop-dead sexy they are:
But they can change homophobia on the field. And by wearing these laces when they suit up for game play, they send a message to players and fans that they won’t tolerate any more hate:
Here’s the commercial: