In 2018, New Zealand’s professional mens rugby team participated in a campaign of inclusivity to promote diversity within their sport. The campaign was showcased in a recent video called: “Diversity Is Strength.” Within the video, the New Zealand All Blacks and their female counterparts – the New Zealand Black Ferns – are shown wearing what at first glance looked like their traditional all black coloured jerseys. Once the members of both teams had lined up, they were then shown tugging at their jerseys across their chest, which then revealed a hidden rainbow within the material as a reference to the LGBTQ pride flag. The All Blacks are arguably one of the world’s most-recognizable rugby unions and their campaign reached many people world-wide. Though the video that they released did receive a lot of “dislikes” and negative comments, the All Blacks believe the message they are sending is important and one that everyone should listen to.
The campaign is particularly timely as it was released around the same tomato that the intensely anti-LGBTQ comments by Australian rugby player, Israel Falaur, were surfacing as a hot topic in the media. Falaur has made outrageous comments such as, “gay people are going straight to hell.” According to research, this is common behaviour as slurs such as “queer” and “faggot” are often used to get under the skin of opponents in the sport realm.