Arnold van Opstal, a 26-year-old player in the Philippines Basketball Association, posted a pro-gay message on Instagram this week and many fans wrongly assumed he had come out.
Van Opstal was being kissed on the cheek by his brother, Chris, who is gay, and the post was in support of the SOGIE bill, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. It passed the Filipino House but is stuck in the Senate. His Instagram post tagged three Senate opponents, including boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.
The post garnered more than 11,000 likes and 700 comments, far outweighing anything else the German-born van Opstal has posted. Many fans wrongly congratulated him for coming out. “Omg!!!! Im so proud!!! ” read one representative comment.
Van Opstal cleared the air in an Instagram story when asked by a fan, “Are you a part of the LGBT?”
Van Opstal: My brother is ‘gay,’ a lot of my good friends are ‘gay.’ However, I am ‘straight.’
The whole game of labeling sexuality is a joke. Preferences are preferences, love is love, and everyone deserves to be their own authentic selves without having to fear the judgment of others.
I feel like athletes are not doing enough to address homophobia that is very apparent in sports due to fear of judgement set by their peers and coaches. Equality comes from all aspects not just race and I’m happy to stand up for equality.
It’s 2018 there’s no space for ignorant assholes. Judging someone by their sexuality is as ignorant as judging people by their skin color or religion.
All homophobes and racists can go fuck themselves.
I like van Opstal’s post and anything that engages that many people over a piece of important legislation is using social media effectively. Ditto for what he said about homophobes and racists.