The omnipresent AFL shop steward, Brendan Gale, has instructed his winged monkeys to send a nastygram to a footy fan site, ordering them to shut down their gallery. What sort of a business turns on its customers like that? Only one staffed by a bunch of arrogant, hate-filled and moronic spoilt brats.
The AFL Players' Association head Brendan Gale has been harassing the fan site Gay Footy since April, regarding its use of photographs of AFL players in undress or near-undress.
Bizarrely, Gale defended the gallery:
"The site is quite an informative site actually, with chat and a various array of features," Mr Gale told ABC radio today.
"One of the features is a gay footy picture gallery, and there were hundreds of footballers in various states, a lot of typical training shots, some with tops off.
"These are images that have probably already been on the public record and in no way were they offensive or inappropriate." (SMH, 29/6/2006)
Then what's the problem, Brendan? Rather than just "coming out" and saying what they really think, they dug up a legal-eagle prepared to bat for their team:
[L]egal services consultant Bernie Shinners said the photos were "of significant concern" to players. "Photographs that show a player in a socially embarrassing position such as in the showers and in various states of undress are defamatory . . ." he said. (The Age, 28/6/2006)
What a load of tosh. Even corporate law firm Minter Ellison (who make buckets of cash out of running defamation cases - hello if you're reading!) poo-pooed the notion:
Minter Ellison lawyer Cindy Christian said Australian courts did not recognise a right to privacy, and the issue of players being defamed by the website was "very questionable". (Ibid.)
The website in question made it clear that the fansite wasn't implying the featured players were gay with a disclaimer stating "Inclusion in this site does not imply sexual preference."
The AFL Players' Association has been at pains to state it's nothing to do with being a gay website at all; no, it's just players' privacy they're trying to protect. Brendan even went out on a limb stating that:
The association would have "absolutely" taken the same action against a straight-themed website, he said. (Ibid.)
Really? So I suppose fansites were women post pictures of semi-nude footballers and go "wow, he's hot", "yeah, I'd love to lick his abs" etc would get sent threatening legal letters too? Sites like this one and this one. Sites were the participants have names like Kim and Lisa and Lizzy and Emily and Jessy. The existence of such female-oriented sites demonstrably invalidates Brendan's claim of being even-handed.
Here's what I reckon is actually going on.
Step 1. Slightly dim footballers turn up to commercial photo shoots and allow candid shots to promote themselves as sex objects. Presumably, turning on the chicks with a few beefcake shots will help their post-footy career, earn them money somehow ... or have more, err, immediate benefits.
Case in point: The Candyman Brodie Holland, famed for being a multimedia-tart with oiled-up, pouting specials like this:
Broad Appeal: Brodie Holland Flaunts His Money-Maker
Step 2. Said footballers stumble onto the internet (or, more likely, a clueful friend points it out to them) and they realise that it's not just women "enjoying themselves" with these images. Uh oh!
Step 3. Gay panic sets in. They feel under threat and worry that their more blokey mates - already suspicious of their facials, group bondings and the extensive grooming of your modern metrosexual - might deem them actively homosexual unless they stridently act to remove the images.
Step 4. They get their union to "do something". Lawyers are brought in, nasty legal threats made. Double-standard results (since the footballers are quite happy for women to ogle the photos). Publicity machine kicks in to minimise damage. Largely docile and gay-hostile footballing-public secretly (or publicly) agree with hypocrisy, making PR flaks' job very easy.
To add fuel to the fire, the legal geniuses at the AFL Players' Association also asked for a photograph of a fully-clothed Western Bulldogs player holding his daughter on the field to be taken down.
Is this really gay porn?
Source:Western Bulldogs gallery
What are they saying? That gay people seeking photos of big hunky young men are necessarily also pedophiles who will derive sexual enjoyment from seeing clothed little girls? There's some very sinister reasoning going on here.
It's no secret that the AFL is a deeply-homophobic environment, where bigotry and infantile attitudes are ingrained. There are currently over 500 professional footballers. Many thousands have gone through its ranks in the past few decades. None have discussed their homosexuality. Of course, it could be that there weren't any. Or - much more plausible - the ones that are there have been frightened or pressured into staying silent.
How will the league move forward when blatant gay-hating double-standards like this go unchallenged? Where is the outrage and condemnation? The players need to get wise and accept that their appeal spans all flavours of human sexuality, or they should stop shamelessly promoting it to make a buck.
You can't have your (beef)cake and eat it, boys. Just grow up and get over yourselves.
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