While there has been great support of Robbie Rogers coming out as a gay soccer player and taking a break from it, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) has come out this week and banned lesbians from soccer activity.
It should be noted that in Nigeria, homophobia is a big problem. There are strict laws against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. In some Nigerian states, the penalty for being gay is death. There have been unsuccessful attempts to combat this type of discrimination happening in Nigeria.
Obviously this decision by the NFF is the polar opposite of FIFA’s policy about discrimination. Look for FIFA to contact the NFF and to tell them that this is unacceptable in today’s society.
Sexuality shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to having players on your team. Furthermore, sexuality shouldn’t be a reason to be banned from playing soccer. This is 2013, not the 1800s or the 1900s, and it is time that we accept people for who they are.
It is a shame that sexual and racial discrimination stills occurs. We need to act like the Sons of Ben did in support of Rogers’ decision. More gay athletes would come out publicly if we were more respectful of their decision and who they truly are. Because of our hatred towards others, this doesn’t happen because they feel like they need to hide it so they aren’t bullied and ridiculed for who they are.
Obviously, I hope that FIFA has some serious talks with the NFF and tells them that their ban on lesbian soccer players is totally wrong. If the NFF doesn’t change their discriminatory policy, I truly hope FIFA place some sanctions on them until they learn what they are doing is not acceptable.
Lastly, it will be interesting if FIFA includes any World Cup sanctions–like banning Nigeria from participate in future world cups until they change the policy.