The Royal Dutch Football Association, or KNVB, has released a new campaign to fight homophobia in soccer. The Netherlands governing soccer association has created an 11-point action plan to battle homophobia in their sport. They've also created a fun video (watch it below) that says to gay athletes, "Why not step out of the closet? Your team is on your side."
The video, and particularly its tone, is great. The brief shower scene is rather insightful. The big argument against openly gay athletes is the problem they'll create in the locker room. The image of a guy wearing a closet in the shower says it all: There are already gay guys next to your naked athletes.
Michael van Praag, Federal President of the KNVB, said in his speech about the campaign:
We appeal to all clubs and players in the Netherlands. The union cannot unilaterally change the climate. Everyone - from coaches to players - must be aware of their own responsibility. Working for gay acceptance means discussing the subject and correcting each other where necessary. Because let's face it: Gay or straight, it really does not matter.
The association also released this statement as part of the campaign launch:
Football is for everyone. The Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) stands for an open and safe climate in football. It is of paramount importance that all players, from amateur football to the Premier League, are able to play at their highest level, irrespective of color, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. This serves both the interest of individual players and the good of the game. Players who can be present, and feel good about themselves, will give the best possible contribution to their team's performance. In football this is not only desirable, but an absolute necessity.
Wouldn't it be nice if one of the major sports commissioners or leagues in the United States would make the same statements and launch similar campaigns.