Sunday, February 20, 2011

Yesterday was Football v Homophobia Day. But not unexpectedly the Justin Campaign didn't even get a mention on CBBC's MOTD Kickabout, or for that matter on BBC1's Football Focus.

Justin Fashanu was a black player, but against the odds and despite racist attitudes in the sport at the time he managed to rise to the top of his profession to become the first British footballer to transfer for £1 million. Racism is far less common in football now than it was 20 years ago, but the same is not true of homophobia - the prejudice which led to his downfall. Saturday would have been Justin's 50th birthday.

We were told, before its launch, that MOTD Kickabout would focus on all things footie. On 29 January the programme highlighted sexist attitudes in the sport. So why did CBBC pass up a perfect chance yesterday to highlight homophobia? They could have easily found time if they wanted to. This is just the latest in a long list of lost opportunities.

As noted several times previously on Newsround Blog, the BBC encourages yobbish attitudes. On Friday's Newsround and repeated on yesterday's MOTD Kickabout -

Boy: ManUnited fans you'd better watch out. You get less cocky, because we're gonna crush you into the ground like a piece of dirt!

There are, however, a few positive signs on BBC children's TV. Ballet Boys, which was shown on Saturday (BBC2 at 11.15am) broke CBBC's long-standing practice regarding use of the 'g' word. More about this in a future blog.

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