Email sent to the FA on 12 March 2009:-
Fighting prejudice in sport and society
I've read that the FA is intending to make a DVD to combat homophobia in football, and I had an idea which I hope you will take up.
On BBC One's Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, one of Jonathan's guests last week was the comedian James Corden. During the interview, which is available here until tomorrow night, James mentioned a sketch for Comic Relief which he made with members of the England football team twenty minutes before they went off to Spain for the match a month ago. James said that Rio Ferdinand, whom he knew a little bit, was instrumental in getting the England players to help with the sketch. I've attached a screen capture from the programme - England_footballers.png
Before the match in Spain, Rio thought about the possibility of racist chants and is reported to have said: "It is extraordinary that we're discussing racism in this day and age. I don't want to dwell on the past. It's time to move forward." It turned out that racist chants weren't in evidence on the day, but the same was not true of homophobic chanting, which was directed at David Beckham.
Rio Ferdinand has worked tirelessly in efforts to stamp out bullying in schools (e.g. in this vid for BeatBullying) and to stamp out racism in football, and I think he'd agree that the challenge today in Britain is to make schools a safe place for all. Regrettably there is a long way to go, as evidenced by Stonewall's report on Tuesday as well as the murder of gay teenager Michael Causer in Liverpool last year.
My suggestion therefore is that the FA ask Rio if he could again help assemble several of the England team to participate in the proposed DVD. This DVD needs to be given a high profile, and the footballers explicit in their condemnation of homophobia.
I hope that the FA will support this idea and pass the suggestion on to those directly involved.