NRL launches anti-discrimination policy
The NRL will introduce a new, stronger Diversity and Inclusion Policy aimed at eliminating homophobia and other forms of discrimination in Rugby League.
Chief Executive, Mr Dave Smith, said today the NRL was committed to making everyone feel welcome in Rugby League at all levels.
He said the NRL already ran an Indigenous Players Camp, Close the Gap round, Women in League round and other programs to demonstrate that everyone has a place in Rugby League.
Mr Smith today joined with the heads of four other sporting bodies to present a united front against homophobia. The codes have agreed to introduce policies consistent with the newly created Anti-Homophobia and Inclusion Framework by the end of August this year.
It is the first time all the major, professional sports in a country have collectively committed to tackling discrimination based on sexual orientation.
"Our policy will make it clear that our game is for everyone," Mr Smith said.
"The NRL wants to be part of this campaign against homophobia.
"There is a place in our game for everyone, irrespective of race, colour, sexuality, gender, disability or anything else."
Australia's men's and women's World Cup stars Greg Inglis and Jess Palmer said they supported the NRL's moves to eliminate discrimination in the game.
"It is important to focus on a person's ability to play sport and not on stereotypes about race, gender, sexuality, disability or any other issue," Mr Inglis said.
"Rugby League is a sport that everyone can play so it is great to see the NRL implementing a policy that will make everyone feel good about being part of the game.
"From my personal experience, the NRL has been incredibly supportive of Indigenous players through the All Stars concept, the Indigenous Players Camp, Close the Gap Round and a whole range of other initiatives and programs."
Ms Palmer, who is the Jillaroos and women's World Cup representative and NRL Game Development Officer, said she has played a number of sports and a person's sexual preference or race had never been an issue.
"Everyone is open-minded …sexual preference is not an issue," Ms Palmer said
"You are just there to play footy and enjoy the game.
"As a woman playing the game and working in Rugby League I have noticed a definite cultural change over the years.
"The NRL is very supportive of the Jillaroos and women's involvement in the game at all levels."