In 1993, Australian football legend Nicky Winmar famously stood up to racism on the field in Australian sport.
Now, ahead of this weekend’s historic AFL Pride Game, the Indigenous former St Kilda Saints player is standing up to homophobia too.
In a new video introduced by lesbian comedian Magda Szubanski, Nicky (pictured, left) shares how proud he is of his gay son Tynan (right).
“Dad always said to be proud of who and what you are, no matter what. We’re not here forever so just be as proud for as long as you can,” Nicky said.
“I am who I am and I am proud of my stance on racism in sport. I’m proud to be a father to my son who’s gay and I just want to support him and his friends and anyone else out there as much as I can.”
Tynan said he had difficulty in getting people to understand his sexual orientation, and felt pressured by his family name.
“For a long time I didn’t understand how I felt. I had a bit of resentment towards the way I felt towards other people because I was confused and I was little angry,” Tynan said.
“It was very hard to accept who I was because I felt like there was an image I needed to portray being the son of a famous AFL player – especially someone so iconic.”
— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) August 11, 2016
Nicky said he believes his experiences rising through the ranks as an indigenous AFL player are comparable to people who are worried about coming out as gay.
“There are a lot of people affected by it and hurt by it who are still not coming out and being open about it – don’t be scared,” he said.
“A lot of footy players wouldn’t play because of the colour of their skin and went home.
“There were a lot of footy players who didn’t fulfil their potential and just walked away from it. They’ve got to be treated as human beings and in the right way.”
To watch Nicky and Tynan’s full video, visit the St Kilda Saints’ website.
This Saturday night’s historic Pride Game between St Kilda and the Sydney Swans at Etihad Stadium will see players wear rainbow jerseys and rainbow socks as umpires wave rainbow flags.
— Etihad Stadium (@EtihadStadiumAU) August 8, 2016
— Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) August 10, 2016
Earlier this week, AFL officials officially launched the Pride Game at the venue and AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said he wanted footy players and fans to be able to be who they are.
“We’re not trying to be the social leader on everything, but issues come up from time to time that we need to lead on, and this is one of them,” he said.
— Joshua Dawe (@joshuadawe2) August 11, 2016
— Rowena Allen (@rowena_allen) August 9, 2016