Arsenal players commemorated this year’s Rainbow Laces campaign with an explosion of color.
Adidas and the Premier League powerhouse partnered with Australian artist Kris Small to design their special Love Unites training kit, which they wore Sunday during warm-ups before their match against Southampton.
According to Small’s website, he creates “abstract, energetic and flamboyant pieces using photo based collage, texture and typography.
These warm-up tops certainly fit the bill. They’re fire ...and for sale on Arsenal’s official website.
Inspired by Stonewall, worn with pride by The Arsenal— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 23, 2022
Our new Arsenal x @adidasfootball Love Unites training kit ♥️ pic.twitter.com/G3oo1PWK97
Players from the EPL will Rainbow Laces during their games through the end of the week to highlight LGBTQ inclusion in soccer. The campaign is in its ninth season, and has received support from the English Football League and other levels of soccer.
In fact, the EPL sent out a news release this month highlighting the initiative.
As Outsports’ Jim Buzinski points out, the biggest catalyst for change will be when an active EPL player comes out. Some well-known players in other leagues — such as Jake Daniels, Zander Murray and Josh Cavallo — have come out over the last year.
There also isn’t always a correlation between inclusive symbolism and meaningful action. For example, Newcastle United is participating in Rainbow Laces, but the franchise is owned by Saudi Arabia’s Private Investment Fund — creating a conundrum for LGBTQ fans.
Saudi Arabia is being accused of “sportswashing” its dismal record on LGBTQ rights. Qatar, whose abhorrent treatment of LGBTQ people was exposed in a new report from the Human Rights Campaign, will likely do the same with the World Cup.
With that in mind, genuine efforts from a club like Arsenal, which boasts England’s first gay soccer fan group, are meaningful.
As an added bonus, their players look good while showing their support.