Ohlala! Someone has been reading my dream journal.
French rugby enthusiasts woke up this week to the news that the gay social media app, Grindr, has teamed up with the French rugby team of Biarritz Olympique in a $4.8 million deal. The announcement that Biarritz will be wearing the familiar black and gold Grindr colors, with its devilish icon, as their official kit is part of a wider effort by the governing body of the French Rugby League (LNR) to fight homophobia among not only its players but more importantly, its fans.
The sport of rugby is wildly popular in France, with three leagues competing across the country, and its national team “Les bleus” are a part of the prestigious Six Nations rugby championship each year (the three nations of Great Britain — England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland — plus Ireland, France, and Italy). The Biarritz Olympique team is in the second tier of professional teams, called the Pro D2. They compete mainly against other mid-sized teams in southwestern France, the heart of rugby country in the country.
As reported in RugbyPass News: “Grindr is excited to partner with (club president) JB Aldige and the Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque Rugby Club. The club has been outspoken against homophobia and has committed to Grindr to continue its work to increase inclusivity and acceptance in the league and rugby overall,” the people behind the app noted in a statement.
Gay men have been exposed to the marvels of rugby and its muscular, masculine players for a generation through the photographic beauty of the annual “Dieux du Stade” calendars issued each year. The accompanying “behind the scenes” videos feature the rugby men in all of their natural glory and provide a constant, flowing, thirst trap.
The news of the sponsorship comes after claims of homophobia against the team president who used a feminine slur to describe a local city official and generally engendered a climate of homophobia. Additionally, a commissioned survey by the LNR found that 87% of rugby players felt it was not easy to be a gay player in the league, and 75% felt it was not possible to easily discuss one’s homosexuality in the league.
Rugbypass News notes that Biarritz currently sit in third on the ProD2 table, but will be hoping to grind out a win in this weekend’s semi-finals.