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NBL Pride Round anger: LGBTQ+ community let down by Cairns … – Code

Sydney Kings Brazilian big man Tim Soares opted against wearing the NBL’s Pride Round logo due to his religious beliefs. Now the club has backed his stance.
The Sydney Kings have backed Brazilian import Tim Soares after he opted against wearing the NBL’s Pride Round logo on his jersey in Friday night’s clash with Tasmania due to his religious beliefs.

Two nights after Cairns’ entire playing group decided not to wear the rainbow standard after some Taipans were hesitant on religious and personal grounds, Soares did the same.
The 25-year-old big man is a devout Christian while his parents work as missionaries in his hometown, Sao Paulo.
Soares informed Sydney officials of his decision not to wear the Pride logo during the week.
The Kings provided News Corp with a statement, saying the club supported the Brazilian big man’s stance.
The NBL had invited all players to participate in the Pride Round and wear the rainbow logo, but stressed no player would be forced to do so against their personal beliefs.
“Tim’s personal decision, which is in accordance with his beliefs, is one we respect, just as we do the players that participated,” the statement read.
“Individual players from all clubs were invited to participate. It was not an obligation placed upon players.
“The NBL has established the Pride Round initiative, in conjunction with the Australian Basketball Players‘ Association, which the Sydney Kings organisation fully support.”
The NBL, earlier this week, publicly announced the round, designed to show people in the LGBTQI+ community that basketball was a safe space.
All courts during round 17 have featured the rainbow pride logo, but the league left the decision of whether to wear the small insignia on their jerseys up to each individual player.
The Taipans sparked controversy when all 11 players signed off on a statement which read that they “supported” the initiative, but chose not to wear the logo amid “a barrage of abuse and harmful commentary that has led to individuals being targeted and shamed” and called for understanding.
The Cairns group was upset the league initiative had set some players up to be “vilified”.
Cairns Taipans have slammed ‘media commentary’ after it emerged that some players were hesitant to wear the @NBL pride logo 🌈

â–¶ï¸ STORY: https://t.co/qj1mah37fn

âœï¸ @MickRandallHS, @MMcInerney89 & @mattlogue7#NBL23 🀠pic.twitter.com/k8wn88nHOZ
The league’s only openly gay player Isaac Humphries was disheartened by the Taipans’ stance.
“I’m disappointed for my LGBTQ+ family of athletes and coaches who live silently in the closet,” Humphries told ESPN.
“If we are going to move forward with true equality, equity and inclusion in sport for LGBTQ+ athletes, we have to start by getting honest.
“We have to acknowledge there is a problem. The obligation is on all of us, no matter where in the sport power matrix we live.”
Sydney locked up first position with Friday’s dominant win over Tasmania. The Kings take on a desperate South East Melbourne Phoenix at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday.
It’s the Phoenix’s final game of the season and they need to win to secure a top six playoff position.
Hiding behind ‘religion’ or ‘personal reasons’ to justify homophobia is cowardice.
Some circles have hailed the Cairns Taipans as courageous for ‘supporting their brothers’ who refused to wear the NBL’s rainbow logo during Pride Round, an initiative designed to send a positive message to the LGBTQ+ community that basketball is a safe and welcoming place.
Clearly, it’s not, just yet.
The Cairns playing group’s move to “collectively opt out” of wearing the rainbow insignia has harmed the LGBTQ+ community — something it is sadly used to after enduring centuries of prejudice.
The Taipans have repeatedly said they support the Pride Round, but the players’ actions suggest otherwise.
Cairns players were “vilified” for their stance with online abuse but two wrongs don’t make a right and that isn’t helpful to anybody.
Could the NBL have handled it better?
It’s a question posed by United coach Dean Vickerman — a staunch and vocal supporter of the initiative — and the league will clearly look at how it does things moving forward.
To be fair, head office did everything in its power to avoid a PR disaster in the vein of NRL club Manly’s pride jersey furore through education and early communication with the clubs.
The Taipans — along with every other club — were made aware of the league’s plan at last September’s pre-season Blitz competition and went through Pride in Sport education sessions.
No concerns were officially expressed in that time.
Then, on Monday, after the public launch of the Pride Round, Taipans players came forward but the decision to shun the logo wasn’t made public until game day, which blindsided the club’s major sponsor CQ University.
What does that say to people in the LGBTQ+ community, especially those who work for the organisation?
Make no mistake, we have come a way on inclusion and acceptance but, when an entire team refuses to wear a tiny rainbow logo on their uniform as a small gesture that a community is accepted, there is more to do.
Religion can be a wonderful, unifying force — but it can also be divisive. Someone’s sexual orientation shouldn’t.
Where it was once taboo, more and more people are finding the strength — and feeling comfortable enough — to be who they are.
In the basketball world, Melbourne United star Isaac Humphries is a shining example of this.
He spent much of his life wrestling with hiding his sexuality but recently made the step to come out to the world.
He’s disheartened by the Cairns’ playing group’s stance.
“I’m disappointed for my LGBTQ+ family of athletes and coaches who live silently in the closet,” Humphries told ESPN.
“If we are going to move forward with true equality, equity and inclusion in sport for LGBTQ+ athletes, we have to start by getting honest.
“We have to acknowledge there is a problem.
“The obligation is on all of us, no matter where in the sport power matrix we live.
“In the meantime, I will continue to encourage us all to come together, respect each other, lift each other up, and I will use my platform to give voice to the voiceless.
“Each of us needs to ask ourselves: what kind of courage did we display when our leadership moment arrived?”
There is only one answer to that for the Taipans.
Originally published as Sydney Kings back Brazilian big man’s personal choice not to wear the NBL’s Pride Round logo
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