Britain's leading footballers refuse to participate in an anti-homophobia campaign for fear of being taunted and ridiculed, reports The Independent.
Professional footballers have refused to appear in a campaign video against homophobia because they fear being ridiculed for taking a stand against one of the sport's most stubborn taboos, The Independent has learnt. Both players and agents declined a request by the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) to take part in a video which was to use high- profile players as figureheads in the association's drive against anti-gay prejudice. The advertising agency Ogilvy, which was hired to produce the film, had advised that such involvement by well-known faces would be important if the campaign was to deliver the required impact. But instead, the FA was obliged to produce a generic "viral" anti- homophobic video – which was itself pulled earlier this week.
The FA announced the project in December 2008. David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sol Campbell—who has been relentlessly subjected to homophobic abuse—were among the big names the FA hoped would participate. All said no. Ferdinand, the current captain of the English team, has probably been the most vocal about homophobic abuse and suggested the FA should deduct points for homophobic taunts from fans. Unfortunately he also refused to appear in the video.
The UK Football Association's anti-homophobia public service announcement was supposed to launch on Thursday. It was pulled by the Association because of fears the message was "too blunt". Not exactly a profile a courage, right?