When the Australian Rugby Union fined NSW Waratahs player Jacques Potgieter $20,000 for using a gay slur during a recent match, the top gay rugby team in Australia (and the world) praised the quick response.
"We applaud the Australian Rugby Union and the Waratahs for acting so quickly to investigate and resolve this matter and reinforcing their commitment to eradicate homophobia in rugby and providing a positive environment for all," Said Andrew Purchas, founder of the Sydney Convicts and President of last year's Sydney Bingham Cup. "It is certainly disappointing that this event occurred at all and it highlights the ongoing need for all sports to be actively engaged in eliminating homophobia."
To that end, the Convicts have invited Potgieter to visit their club, talk with the members and train with them.
"We would welcome Jacques to come down to meet the boys and hear their stories, which is why we will invite him to join us for a few of our training sessions," said Sydney Convict president Robert McPherson. "He would quickly recognize that being gay has no impact on a person's ability to play rugby or their passion for the game."
As we've said over and over, the most powerful way to change people's ideas and behaviors on these issues is to expose them to out LGBT people. The Convicts are spot-on with their invitation and we hope Potgieter, whether he thinks there's no issue here or not, will take the opportunity to visit with these men and listen to their stories.