Australian football player Akermanis defends on his gay talks

11:02, May 21, 2010      

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Outspoken Australian Football League footballer Jason Akermanis, who is widely criticized and possibly facing a human rights complaint for urging gay players to stay in the closet, said Friday his critics were twisting his words.

The day after suggesting the league wasn't ready for openly gay players and "straight" teammates could be uncomfortable around them, the Western Bulldogs forward said his critics have distorted his argument and are "missing the point".

"There's articles everywhere written from these guys and all of them, of course, are gay so they think they know everything and they know more," Akermanis told MTR Radio on Friday.

"They're making it personal about me, which is a very dumb thing to do because all I wanted to do was debate the facts."

Several gay rights supporters, including openly gay Olympic swimmer Daniel Kowalski, have dismissed his comments as homophobic.

Sydney gay rights activist Gary Burns said on Friday that Akermanis has been "encouraging homophobia" and he intended to lodge a complaint against him with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

The storm has been erupted after Akermanis set out his views on gays in his weekly Herald Sun column on Thursday.

Akermanis further fuelled anger when he expanded on those comments during a Nine Network television interview, saying it would be unsafe for players to be openly gay.

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