Sexual orientation discrimination in sport

Jason Collins
Tuesday, 11 June 2013 By Andrew Smith

A few weeks ago, for the first time, a professional American sportsman from one of the four major team sports in the US (basketball, baseball, American football and ice hockey) publicly announced that he is gay.  Jason Collins, an NBA basketball player, said in a recent interview: “I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay”1.  It is fair to say that the reaction to this news has not been unequivocally supportive.

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About the Author

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith

Andrew is a barrister practising from Matrix Chambers in London. He is an employment law specialist, and has a keen interest in sports law and sport generally. His Matrix profile (including Directory recommendations) may be viewed here.

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Comments (1)

  • Sorin Muflic

    • 12 June 2013 at 11:45
    • #

    In August 2012, Becali refused to discuss the transfer of a player who played for teams such as Liverpool, Blackburn, Atletico Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Zaragoza and Saint-Etienne, so a valuable footballer, because the player, "although he was a Christian", was black.

    Steaua's official shareholders are some of Becali's relatives. Although hiding for years, Becali is obviously the owner of this team. Before his recent arrest, Becali made numerous daily statements on media as owner of the club. He gave approval for any transfer, for team composition at any match, changed tactics even during matches, and replaced live on TV 17 coaches in 9 years.

    In the case of racism above indicated, Becali made public statements taken by the Romanian and French press, saying "here (at Steaua, he meant) is not what everyone wants, but what I want."

    So Becali's legal dodge, that he would not represent Steaua, and that, consequently, his statements do not imply legal liability of the club, must be fought with facts to the contrary.

    Monday, UEFA opened an investigation related to the bribery of the representatives and players of other teams in the Romanian championship by Becali himself, two distinct offenses for which team owner was sentenced to two sentences of three years in prison. Although Steaua's defense is focused on the idea that Becali is not the official owner of the club, it is expected UEFA to exclude the team from UEFA Champions League this year.

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