AFL Bulldogs legend Bob Murphy reveals his ‘disgust’ at ex-teammate Jason Akermanis’ controversial comments about gay players – and why he refuses to even say his name 13 years later
- Akermanis wrote gay AFL stars should ‘stay in the closet’
- Was sacked by the Western Bulldogs two months later
- Murphy called on locked-down players to come forward
Western Bulldogs AFL star Bob Murphy has broken a 13-year silence over former teammate Jason Akermanis and the controversial column he wrote which led to him being sacked from the club.
Akermanis was a talented but polarizing figure in his AFL career with the Brisbane Lions and Bulldogs, sparking controversy in 2010 when he wrote about homosexuality in sport.
The chronicle of the three-time premiership winner was headlined ‘Stay in the closet’ and urged gay AFL players to stay mum or else they would have to carry the ‘burden’ of being the league’s first player to come out openly as gay.
To date, no player has come out.
Akermanis was a prodigious talent but also polarized during a long career with the Bisbane Lions and Bulldogs
Former Western Bulldogs player Bob Murphy (pictured front, right) has spoken out against Akermanis and his column
At the time, Akermanis doubled down on the comments made in the column, telling Channel Nine he believed gay gamers would be targeted if they came out.
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“There’s been a bit of a gay hunt where we’re trying to get people out,” he told the Nine Network today.
“I’m not sure it’s very safe and healthy for competition. What you do in your private life is up to you.
Akermanis was fired by the Bulldogs two months after the column was published.
Now, in a Four Corners report on homosexuality in footy, former team-mate Murphy has lambasted Akermanis for his actions – and still refuses to call him by his name.
“I was disgusted, I was embarrassed and I was hurt,” Murphy said.
“But then the injury took a turn – ‘what if one of my teammates is gay?
“I wanted to check in with the author (Akermanis) and say – I think what I said to him was – ‘that heinous shit you wrote in the diary’.
“For me, at that time in my life, I was like ‘we’re done’.”
Murphy refuses to call Akermanis by name to this day and slammed his former teammate for his diary column after 13 years of silence
Akermanis doesn’t back down from his position today and doesn’t care who he upsets in the process
Akermanis – who now works as an estate agent in Brisbane – is also not giving up his position in 2023.
“I marked it all – homophobic, you name it,” he said.
“Just because I’m writing about it and you disagree with it doesn’t mean…I’m scared of gay people, which is just plain shit.
‘Look, personally, I don’t care one way or the other. As long as you don’t throw it in my face or tell me where I’m not interested. I don’t tell people what I do in my private life.
‘Why would you bother. Who cares, it’s up to you. Why would you? Think about it. Is it worth it? These are good questions to ask. You have to weigh it. It is a heavy burden.
Reporter Louise Milligan then asked: ‘There were people who disagreed with what you said. What about the people who were hurt by what you said?
Akermanis replied, “I always say to anyone who gets injured, it’s your problem, it’s your problem. If you need to consult, go ahead and do it.
Murphy issued an impassioned plea for all currently locked-down AFL players to come out, saying they would be supported by the players and the league.
“You will be fought for and supported,” the former Bulldogs captain said.
“If there was a dissenting voice, they would be told to shut up or get out.”