Recently during a Superliga volleyball match in Brazil, a stadium of 3,000 fans taunted a gay player by yelling homophobic slurs. The stadium erupted repeatedly yelling "Bicha! Bicha! Bicha!" which translates to "faggot" as Volei Futuro’s Michael went to serve the ball. (Brazilians refer to their athletes by their first or nicknames.)
The event made headlines, and as a result Michael came out to the media. Volleywood.net offers a translation of his statement: "I’m gay. Everyone knows who I am. My team fully respects my sexuality. I have been playing for 10 years and everyone has treated me well and fair. I do not feel the need to let everyone know about my sexuality."
Volei Futuro’s coach, fans and team members weren’t going to leave Michael standing on his own, so they wore pink warm-up shirts in support of their taunted teammate. One player wore a rainbow-colored jersey during the match. Fans waved pink thundersticks emblazoned with "Michael" throughout the match. To close the game the sound system played "I Will Survive."
Perhaps Mr. Bryant and the Lakers can learn a thing or two from Volei Futuro’s courageous show of support.
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