Australian Football League's Support For Same-Sex Marriage Divides Players, Fans
The Australian Football League "divided its fans, clubs and some of its biggest names by publicly endorsing a yes vote in the national same-sex marriage survey," according to Rob Harris of the HERALD SUN. AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan defended the position -- which included replacing the AFL logo at its Docklands HQ with the word “YES” -- as being part of the league's "anti-discrimination stance." A number of past players and coaches on Wednesday "questioned the league’s role in the debate and its decision to back one side." Former AFL coach Mick Malthouse said, "The AFL will only polarize people and really has no right to be involved in the political world of marriage equality." Carlton on Wednesday became the first club to publicly move against backing the AFL's stance, saying that the debate was "about personal choice." Former Collingwood player Tony Shaw said that the "level of vilification in the debate meant the league and individual clubs should not publicly back one side or the other." Shaw: "There's a lot of vilification going around for people who are voting no." Former Victorian Premier and ex-Hawthorn President Jeff Kennett, a supporter of same-sex marriage, said, "I am perplexed about the decision. I'm quite in favor of the AFL and its individual leaders having a view -- as I have -- but I am less comfortable with them imposing their view on the football-loving public" (HERALD SUN, 9/20).