Jason Akermanis has been demoted to a lower league by his Aussie Rules Football League team for two weeks for saying in a newspaper column two weeks ago that gay athletes should stay in the closet. In addition, he is stepping away from his media work for the next three weeks to reconsider his commitment to his team.
Speculation has been swirling about the possibility of Akermanis retiring over the incident (and his recent sub-par play). Last night he addressed it head-on with The Age: "I am just going to retire at the end of the year." Akermanis' coach said the actions the team have taken have nothing to do with his drop in production and everything to do with his newspaper column.
Coach Rodney Eade yesterday stressed Akermanis' form wouldn't have any bearing on any ramifications over his column. ''If he had kicked 10 goals and had 15 Brownlow votes at this stage, whatever sanction or discussion that is going to happen with Jason would be exactly the same,'' Eade told Triple M.
The negotiations that lead to all this apparently weren't easy, and Akermanis would not fulfill the request of his team and teammates for him to step away from his radio and newspaper appearances. From The Australian:
It is understood that the reason why negotiations yesterday between Akermanis and the club took almost six hours was an impasse created by the 33-year-old's insistence on playing on and simultaneously fulfilling his media obligations, apparently aware the Dogs could not stop him from doing either without a courtroom fight they would unlikely win.
So it sounds like the sport of Aussie Rules Football will be rid of this guy soon, but Australians can look forward to his rantings for years to come. That is, unless no one in the media hires him for his "insight"...