The ‘YES’ sign plastered over the AFL logo at its Melbourne headquarters has been taken down less than 24 hours after the move was widely criticised by the football community.
Fans, past players and former coaches were in uproar on Wednesday after AFL boss Gillon McLachlan made the resounding declaration of support for marriage equality.
Triple premiership coach Mick Malthouse was among the high-profile AFL identities to slam what the league described as ‘strong statement’ on the issue.
‘The AFL will only polarise people and really has no right to be involved in the political world of marriage equality,’ he said, the Herald Sun reported.
The ‘YES’ sign plastered over the AFL logo at its Melbourne headquarters has been taken down less than 24 hours after the move was widely criticised by the football community
Triple premiership coach Mick Malthouse was among the high-profile AFL identities to slam the move
Several clubs have publicly supported same-sex marriage, but Carlton, while declaring themselves a ‘leader in engendering equality’, didn’t endorse a yes vote.
‘As a club, we respect that this is about personal choice, and as such don’t intend to campaign on the issue,’ a club statement said after the ‘YES’ sign was erected.
‘But we do strongly reinforce our club’s absolute commitment to equality – and a community that is free from any form of discrimination.’
Collingwood premiership captain and AFL commentator Tony Shaw said the league should not be backing either campaign.
‘The thing that is horrible about this, is the yes vote now – everybody says it’s about unity and peace and love and all that,’ he told the paper.
NRL Footy Show host Erin Molan said she’s ‘not a big fan’ of sports administrations getting involved in the same-sex marriage debate
Collingwood premiership captain and AFL commentator Tony Shaw said the league should not be backing either campaign
‘But now it has become pretty ordinary. There’s a lot of vilification going around for people who are voting no.’
Radio personality Neil Mitchell said the AFL’s stance was counter-productive.
‘I think it is pointless, I think it will irritate people and I don’t want to be lectured to by the AFL,’ he said on 3aw.
‘I think it will annoy people more than achieve anything for the vote. People are getting sick of this approach, and I say this as a supporter of the ‘yes’ side.
‘Why do we have to do it this way?’
Several clubs have publicly supported same-sex marriage, but Carlton, while declaring themselves a ‘leader in engendering equality’, didn’t endorse a yes vote
The AFL showed its support for marriage equality by changing the logo at its Docklands headquarters to YES
NRL Footy Show host Erin Molan said she’s ‘not a big fan’ of sports administrations getting involved in the same-sex marriage debate.
‘It’s almost an attempt to sway people and their opinions. Let’s let people make up their own minds,’ she said on Mark Latham’s Outsiders.
‘I don’t think the yes campaign need to do any of the stuff they’re doing. It’s so acceptable to say yes.
‘I see people constantly voting yes but I have not seen one person publicly declare they’re voting no. Except Israel Folau but look what happened to him.’
The Wallabies star and devout Christian last week sparked a Twitter backlash after revealing he would not support same-sex marriage.
Israel Folau last week sparked a Twitter backlash after revealing he would not support same-sex marriage
Radio personality Neil Mitchell (pictured in 2014) said the AFL’s stance was counter-productive
‘I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. But personally, I will not support gay marriage,’ he tweeted.
Wednesday’s sign change also caused a stir online, with hundreds suggesting the AFL should not be pushing a political agenda.
‘Just worry about the footy. You are not the UN. People go to the footy to enjoy and get involved in the game itself. Not same-sex marriage,’ one wrote.
‘Stick to sport, we love sport to get away from politics and personal opinions outside of sport,’ another said.
The ‘YES’ sign was posted in front of the AFL logo outside their headquarters in Melbourne on Wednesday
AFL identities Alastair Clarkson Ben Brown, Max Gawn, Dyson Heppell, Darcy Vescio and Meg Hutchins were among those supporting the move
‘Sorry, but until you reject sponsorship dollars from Etihad Airlines, which is owned by a government that can punish same-sex sexual activity with death, this is pure tokenism,’ yet another wrote.
But many others firmly backed the league’s move.
‘Supporting equality means they promote inclusion in the game and that they support all their players from all backgrounds… good on them!’ one said.
Another wrote: ‘Brilliant AFL!! Of course the organisation should be seeking a world free of discrimination for ALL involved in this great game.’
It came after the AFL boss, whose pro-gay marriage views are well known, stressed the importance of the league’s support for the ‘yes’ campaign.
The move has caused a stir online, with many suggesting the league should not be pushing a political agenda. Others backed the move
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has stressed the importance of the league’s support for the ‘yes’ campaign
‘This is an issue that means a lot to many of our players and many of my employees and a lot of people in the community,’ Mr McLachlan told Fox Footy on Tuesday.
‘I think our position is that we need to have a strong statement – even if it was only for our staff – but I think it’s broader than that.
‘People should get out and vote and have their view, but this something that actually talks to a core value of ours which is actual equality.’
He said he was on the record as saying he is ‘strongly yes.’
Numerous other sporting organisations – including the ARU, the NRL, Cricket Australia and Football Federation Australia – have also declared their support for a ‘yes’ vote in the Australian Bureau of Statistics postal survey.
The AFL has maintained that the ‘YES’ sign was only meant to be a temporary fixture.
The AFL has maintained that the ‘YES’ sign was only meant to be a temporary fixture
The league also considered replacing AFL logos at grounds hosting this week’s preliminary finals with the word ‘YES’, but decided against the move