Jill Stark August 19, 2012
GAY AFL players coming out about their sexuality would be good for football, according to former Essendon star Scott Lucas.
The champion forward, who played 270 games for the Bombers, said AFL players could lead the way in ridding the game of homophobia.
Speaking to gay and lesbian radio station JOY 94.9 at an AFL-sponsored live broadcast outside the MCG before yesterday's Essendon, Carlton match, Lucas said players were keen to drive change. ''We want to raise awareness and I think there would be nothing better for our game - and I'm sure there are gay players out there - that the day that they feel comfortable to come out and say, 'Yes, I am gay', I think would be great for our sport and great for our community,'' he said.
The comments come a week after St Kilda's Stephen Milne was fined $3000 for calling Magpies defender Harry O'Brien a ''f---ing homo''.
Some in the gay and lesbian community felt the AFL should have suspended Milne, to send a message that homophobia is unacceptable.
Lucas, who retired in 2009 and is an assistant coach at Essendon, said players had historically shown leadership when it came to challenging vilification.
''If you look at racism and how that was addressed … the playing group in the AFL really led the charge and yet still we see members of the community and supporters say racial comments to players from opposition teams. So I think in many ways perhaps the players themselves are ahead of the game and it's members of the community that perhaps have to be better at embracing that.''