NBA star slams ‘barbaric’ response to Aussie pride push

One of Australia’s top basketballers has blasted critics of the gay-pride movement and says opponents of a push for a rainbow-themed NBL jersey are “barbaric”.

Boomers NBA star Jock Landale has launched a stinging attack on the NBL and opponents of the gay-pride movement in Australian sport, saying attempts to reject a rainbow-themed jersey are “barbaric”.

As ARL Commission boss Peter V’landys came under fire for proposing a Respect Round in the NRL, Landale came out swinging, lashing Australian basketball figures for emulating NRL side Manly by shunning a gay-pride jersey.

As revealed by News Corp, the NBL’s plans to back a gay-pride jumper collapsed when the Cairns Taipans refused to support the concept — six months after the rainbow-guernsey fiasco involving rugby league’s Sea Eagles.

NBL player Isaac Humphries last year revealed he was gay and as V’landys unveiled plans to stage a Respect Round, Landale expressed his disappointment over the delicate issue of homosexuality in Australian sport.

“I think it’s a real shame that happened (NBL not wearing gay-pride jerseys),” said Landale, the Australian Boomers centre now playing for the Suns in the NBA.

“Who are we to judge someone else’s decisions based on who they choose to be with?

“It’s barbaric.

“People should be able to live their lives freely and as they want.

“I’m all for it. We should be inclusive of everyone.”

Landale, the NBL’s grand final MVP in 2021, which led to his $1 million rise to the NBA, believes American basketball’s elite league should also follow suit.

The 25-year-old, 211cm Landale says he would have no issue wearing a rainbow-themed jersey.

“I would wear the jersey no question. Whatever. 100 per cent,” he said.

“I believe everyone should get behind the gay pride concept and the NBA could do a job for themselves and get behind it as well.

“Isaac Humphries … when he came out, he was the first NBL player to do it and that was a phenomenal feat and a big step forward for the league in getting around that concept.

“It’s a shame for the NBL. There is real merit in everyone getting around that, being supportive of Isaac and the gay community itself.

“It (the gay-pride furore) shouldn’t affect anyone the way it has.

“Religion is not something I am too attentive to. I just believe people should be able to live the way they want to live, but that (the gay-pride jersey issue) is not something that crosses my mind as being a problem.

“Inclusivity across the board is what’s important to me.”

Landale is a free agent this year and the Suns big man ruled out an immediate return to the NBL, outlining his desire to ink a new deal with Phoenix.

“I would love to stay in Phoenix, 100 per cent,” he said in the wake of the Suns’ dismal 132-100 home loss to the Hawks at the Footprint Centre.

“We have just bought a home here and I love it to bits here.

“I don’t plan on going back overseas for a long time.

“I want to show I can play at a high level in the NBA, but it’s out of my control and we’ll see what happens.”

Originally published as NBL pride round: Australian NBA star Jock Landale says rejection of rainbow jersey was barbaric

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