What is going on with these Rugby and Soccer Rainbow Laces? Are they a new fad or a quick response to a recent homophobic attack on one of their own?
Some of us may believe that this new showing of LGBT acceptance in the European soccer, All 20 clubs from the Premier League, clubs in the Football League, the Scottish Premier League, teams from Premiership Rugby, and Welsh Rugby might be in response to Former Rugby Player Gareth Thomas Says He Was The Victim Of A Hate Crime . French Rugby Players [were soon to react and showed their] Support For Gay Rugby Legend Gareth Thomas. Maybe the other clubs above were not thinking they needed to respond too quickly to show their support for Gareth Thomas since an LGBT supportive event was already planned from yesterday, November 24th to Friday, December 5th.
Here's more about the history of the Rainbow Laces.
What is the Rainbow Laces campaign?
Rainbow Laces is spearheaded by Stonewall, a charity that aims to promote LGBT equality and fight homophobia, and their Rainbow Laces campaign is designed specifically to promote lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality within sport.
The Rainbow Laces campaign is due to kick off this weekend across the UK, and will take place from Saturday November 24 to Friday December 7.
Additionally, on November 28, thousands of fans are expected to take part in a huge lace-up in a nationwide support of LGBT athletes for "Rainbow Laces Day", with more than 75,000 Rainbow Laces already being sold.
The Rainbow Laces themselves were created as a symbol of solidarity with the LGBT community within sport, and having high-profile athletes wear them is designed to make LGBT people feel more welcome.
The Rainbow Laces campaign began in 2013, the charity of Stonewall itself was founded in 1989 by a small group of people who had been active in the struggle against Section 28 of the Local Government Act.
Section 28 of the Act was a piece of legislation that aimed to prevent the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools – and though it stigmatised the LGBT community, it also galvanised them. – GOAL.com
Are laces enough? They are definitely a good start. And some type of action is needed, especially after Gareth Thomas & BBC Release 'Hate in the Beautiful Game' – A Look Inside Homophobia In Soccer back in August of 2017.
But who is going to wear the laces? Wallabies boss Michael Cheika and England's Eddie Jones will let their players decide if they make the gesture as rugby chiefs unite in tribute to ex-Wales captain Gareth Thomas.
Thinking back to just weeks ago, were American Football players able to choose if they wore pink for Breast Cancer Awareness of if everyone on the team had to represent? What about the games around Veterans Day? I recall most if not all were wearing some type of camouflage to show their support of the military and with the current political climate, we are sure they would have been pointed out by someone. But then again, I was not looking to see who wasn't wearing garb in tribute or in support and breast cancer and the military are veery different than supporting those gays, bisexuals, transgender, and so on.
When it comes to the laces, or even uniform colors, or even playing in the game, should players have the choice to wear rainbow laces or not?
TheSun.co.uk reported that Australia rugby star Israel Folau who said ‘gays can go to hell’ under pressure to wear rainbow laces. After his little homophobic show on Twitter last April, eyes are on him to see what he will do.
He did not wear the Rainbow laces in Saturdays match.
Ben Te’o and Sam Underhill both confirmed that they would not be re-stringing their boots, with the latter explaining his decision.
"I won’t be wearing them personally,” said Underhill. “That is more to do with, and it sounds a bit ridiculous given the size of the issue they are representing, the thickness of the laces.
“They are actually really uncomfortable in my boots and they are really long. I won't be wearing them, but I fully support the LGBT community. That is something we are all very, very keen that people know. – Telegraph.co.uk
I get it. I really do. Sports is full of tradition, superstition, repetition, (homophobia), and ceremony. Changing any of that may result in an alteration of the game mentally and physically. Maybe, knowing this, they could wear a sweat band instead of laces or other representation, if they choose to do so.
And then there is the religion card as well as the rainbow flag threatening one's masculinity. We understand that, too. We may not lke it and choose not to accept it, but we understand the choices people make.
Instincters, what do you think? Should players be made to wear rainbow articles of clothing to show the team's support of the LGBT community?
You can purchase Rainbow Laces on the Stonewall website for £2.99.