New Zealand All Blacks rugby team sports amazing LGBT-friendly jerseys
New Zealand rugby team the All Blacks and their female counterparts, the Black Ferns, have launched new LGBT-friendly jerseys featuring the rainbow flag.
The new kit is seen in a moving video, Diversity is Strength, which was shared on the All Blacks’ Facebook page on Sunday. It was created in partnership with AIG, the finance firm that sponsors the All Blacks.
The clip sees the two squads preparing for and pitching up to a game in Osaka, Japan, before standing together in the middle of the stadium, stretching the chests of their black jerseys and revealing the hidden rainbows concealed within the fabric.
Throughout the video, a narrator can be heard saying: “They fight as one but that one is made from everyone. Because the next battle is different … The next enemy is truly formidable and deeply devious.
We are proud to team up with AIG Rugby as we tackle discrimination together! #DiversityIsStrength 🇳🇿🏉
Posted by All Blacks on Sunday, April 22, 2018
The narrator continues: “It is discrimination – an enemy that cannot be fought alone and must be defeated together. It will take more than 15 – it will take thousands… millions. And now, AIG has combined all the colours of the rainbow to create a ‘united black.’ Join our team.”
Crowds in the video can also be seen waving rainbow flags. Elsewhere, young fans clutch their chests along with their favourite players as they pull their uniforms and numerous aircrafts create rainbow patterns in the sky.
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Rugby officials attempting to tackle intolerance has been a much talked about subject in recent years, as negative attitudes still seem to permeate the industry, perhaps more so than any other.
The campaign comes in the wake of comments by Australian national player Israel Folau, who recently made headlines for suggesting on his Instagram page that gay people would go to hell unless they “repent for their sins and turn to God.”
The Qantas Wallabies athlete had previously sparked controversy when he revealed last year that he didn’t agree with same-sex marriage and that he was playing to vote ‘no’ in the country’s postal vote for marriage equality.
Folau took to Twitter to share his controversial opinion, writing: “I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage.”
Team captain Michael Hooper was quick to respond to the comments, explaining that the rest of the Wallabies were backing the ‘yes’ campaign for marriage equality.
“For a lot of guys, they’re about footy and our job is rugby, but sport has ability to cross boundaries,” he told The Canberra Times at the time.