A story came out today about boorish fans at Eden Park yelling homophobic comments at rugby players. This may not seem to be that surprising, or even a news item, apart from the fact that Eden Park supports the actions of these fans…albeit subtly.
A stretch you say. I disagree.
The story so far from the NZHerald
A young woman who asked three All Blacks fans at Eden Park not to use homophobic slurs was told by the men that “it’s just part of the game”.
Hannah Spyksma, 24, was at the All Blacks versus France test on Saturday with her family and the three men were sitting in the row behind.
The men, believed to be in their early to mid 20s, were yelling at players, calling them “homos and faggots”.
When Ms Spyksma complained they yelled back: “If you don’t like us using the word faggot then don’t come to the footy because it’s just part of the game.”
The ‘gentlemen’ then turned on Ms. Spyksma turning on her “for the rest of the match, directing slurs in her ear, tapping her on the head and telling her not to go to the rugby again.”
An Eden Park spokesperson then responded
EdenPark spokeswoman Tracy Morgan said harassment of a patron would not be condoned and the men could have been evicted for that.
But unless everyone else around Ms Spyksma was offended by the men’s slurs, they would likely not have been kicked out. Ms Morgan said it wasn’t EdenPark’s place to “be the PC police”.
“If she’s saying that she was isolated and that it shouldn’t be acceptable, it’s not our job – I don’t believe – to try to move the cultural morals of society.”
Now if Ms Morgan had of stopped at the point of condemning the action I wouldn’t be writing this post today…but she let off the offenders, and subtly supported the actions by adding that it wasn’t Eden Park’s place to “be the PC Police” which of course leads to the only logical conclusion that Eden Park is officially saying that to complain about, or be offended by, homophobic slurs is ‘PC”.
Homophobia is akin to any other discrimination, be it sexism, ageism, racism etc…they are all seen equally under discrimination laws, as they are seen equally by the Human Rights Commission. Therefore an establishment should take them as seriously as one another.
I wonder what Eden Park’s response would have been if these men were yelling out words like ‘Nigger‘ and ‘Jigaboo‘ at a player on the field. I bet they wouldn’t have said they weren’t the PC Police then, they would have unequivocally denounced it and wanted to take action. What about the people sitting around these 20 somethings. According to the story Ms. Spyksma was the only person to speak to these young men asking them to stop, and telling them it is inappropriate language. Would any of the other patrons have spoken up if the language was of a racist manner? Or would their silence confirmed the stereotype that racism too is acceptable “because it’s just part of the game.”
I recall an episode of Dr. Phil a few years ago when he talked about the word ‘but‘. He said when people use the word ‘but‘ what they are saying is ‘ignore everything I have just said‘ in other words after the word ‘but‘ comes the persons real opinion.
Now I don’t think it is quite as simple as what Dr. Phil said, but there is some validity to it.
- I am not a racist but…Asian’s are terrible drivers.
- I have nothing against this Government but…National are morons selling us up the river.
- We don’t condone homophobic behaviour in Eden Park but…we aren’t the PC Police.
There is a very famous quote of which the origin is disputed that says “ The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I wonder if the same could be said in this instance.
All that needs to happen for homophobia to exist is that we do nothing. The people in the stands did nothing, Eden Park has responded with a nothing response and now what should you and I do?