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Jason Akermanis column killed AFL players union efforts to combat homophobia

A 2010 newspaper column by Aussie Footballer Jason Akermanis (right) that ignited a firestorm against the athlete...was actually designed to combat homophobia. The column was designed to continue an AFL Players Association campaign of inclusiveness for gay athletes and fans; Instead, the reaction to the piece killed the AFLPA's efforts to combat homophobia. From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Pippa Grange, the AFLPA's manager of culture and leadership until 2010, said the backlash to an article by the controversial retired player Jason Akermanis that she commissioned in her final months in the job was the low point of her seven years work in the sport.

Dr Grange, who now consults to Geelong on cultural matters within the club, told The Sunday Age that the effort to tackle homophobia was ''dropped" following heated reaction to the episode.

Grange said the topic was quickly deemed 'too hard' for the AFL to tackle. She said the Akermanis column became a low-light of her career.

Hat tip to Dan J.

PHOTO: Tony Liberatore of Victoria attempts to tackle Jason Akermanis of the All Stars during the E.J Whitten Legends Game at Etihad Stadium on July 5, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)