Even as progress is made every day to normalize the LGBTQ community in the eyes of greater society, even as athletes like Jason Collins and Michael Sam prove that sports can be a conduit for activism and pride from that community, there are still a sad number of people out there who wish to keep sports as an antiquated, hermetically sealed biodome of homophobic masculinity. Norwich City, a soccer team in England’s second-flight Championship League, know the importance of public allegiance to the causes of pride and inclusion.
Norwich sent its mascots to participate in their city’s Pride parade, and hosted a Pride day at their friendly against German team Hannover 96 on Saturday. It’s a simple gesture, saying merely, “Hey, it’s okay to be out and proud, and still be a supporter of our football team.” Not everyone saw it that way, however, and Norwich’s Facebook page was, as Facebook pages so often are, a repository of ignorance. But whoever runs that page was not having it.
It’s as simple an exchange as you can imagine, and yet it succinctly poses what’s at stake in the intersection between politics and sports. Silence on an issue does nothing but foster ignorance, and using the elevated platform of sports to shine a light on what is, again, a not-terribly-controversial stance in this day and age is still commendable. Would that all sports teams were as good allies as Norwich.