Ben Cohen fights the good fight against homophobia

Well done Ben Cohen. I always thought that for the physique and power that Ben Cohen had as a player he never quite dominated test rugby as much as he could have.  But he has found a worthy cause post retirement.  As a straight married man, he has taken a stand against homophobia and bullying in sport.   Good on ya, Ben. You’ve even made the New York Times with this ballsy stand that can be pretty unpopular in a so-called “macho” sport.

“in a world where no active American athletes in a major male team sport has declared his homosexuality, it remains rare for athletes to chime in on the issue of gay rights. Recent exceptions, beyond Avery, include Grant Hill and Jared Dudley of the Phoenix Suns, who recorded a public-service announcement decrying gay slurs in sports.

Cohen and Taylor are going much further.

Cohen, 32, just retired from a rugby career that included a World Cup title for England in 2003 and more than a decade with the Northampton Saints. Despite being married with 3 ½-year-old twin daughters, he has long had a huge following among gay fans.”

Rugby has a lot of ugly skeletons in this closet – especially in South Africa and we’ve done precious little to rectify this situation, except whinge about our “rights’ and “symbols”. The Varsity Cup in South Africa is a noteworthy exception taking a stand against Violence Against Women.  Other than that, it is just the usual cringe worthy stuff – instead of tackling the real problems in our society, we get Steve Hofmeyer bleating about folk rights and Victor Matfield tackling porn on DSTV.

Good grief Springboks, take a look up north where players are putting their celebrity to actual good use and learn a lesson.  This country could use it, and it might make the Springbok emblem a little more acceptable to a larger base.