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Aussie Rules Football Players Take Stand Against Anti-Gay Language

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Drew Petrie, right, is among the players fighting homophobic language.
Drew Petrie, right, is among the players fighting homophobic language.
Michael Dodge

Australian Rules Football is a huge sport Down Under, so a campaign by the AFL Players Association to fight homophobic language is drawing attention and praise. The campaign is timed to coincide with Friday's International Day Against Homophobia.

The AFL Players' Association has today launched #Footy4IDAHO, a social media campaign targeting the use of homophobic language. The campaign includes a series of videos featuring AFL players taking a pledge to stamp out the use of homophobic language, while also raising awareness of the damaging effects it can have within sport and the community.

Players and fans are asked to make the following pledge:
"I'm taking the pledge to never use homophobic language. Think before you speak, it's time to stop shirking the issue." #FOOTY4IDAHO

The campaign was prompted by a plea from openly gay Aussie Rules player Jason Ball. Fans are encouraged to confront anyone who makes a gay slur. One of the big names in the players' campaign, Brock McLean, marched in the Pride parade in February and has a lesbian sister who struggled with her sexuality.

''You might think it's just harmless and a bit of fun between mates but those words can really hurt," McLean said. "Suicide rates in the gay community are six times higher than the general community so language like that is really not helping,'' he said.

Here is the video released by AFL players: