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Ball: Pride Game has exceeded my expectations

Josh Gabelich  August 11, 2016 3:32 PM

Jason Ball on Pride Game LGBTIQ and mental health advocate Jason Ball spoke to SAINTS.com.au on this weekends Pride Game. #PRIDEGAME
This is something that we’ve been calling for for a numbers of years now and it’s been fantastic to see St Kilda pick up the ball and get it rolling.

LGBTIQ and mental health advocate Jason Ball admits the Pride Game has shattered all expectations he had, praising St Kilda for shining the spotlight on homophobia in sport.

In 2012, Ball was the first footballer at any level to come out publicly as gay and has since been a leading voice in promoting equality and acceptance in not only sport, but also in the community.

Ahead of Saturday night’s inaugural Pride game between St Kilda and Sydney at Etihad Stadium, Ball said he was thrilled by how the Saints have taken his local football club’s initiative and run with it.

“The Pride Game has exceeded all of the expectations I could have imagined. This is something that we’ve been calling for for a numbers of years now and it’s been fantastic to see St Kilda pick up the ball and get it rolling,” Ball told saints.com.au on Thursday.

“What they have planned for Saturday night, and all of the conversations that they’ve started over the last few weeks, have just brought this to the spotlight in a way that we could never have imagined.”

Ball, 28, is confident that this weekend’s iconic fixture will draw thousands of people to the football for the first time ever or for the first time in a long time, with many wanting to show their support for the concept.

“When we did the Pride Cup out at Yarra Glen we had about four times as many people come to that game as to how many usually come to a home and away game of country footy, which was pretty special.

“I think there will be people in the thousands turning out for the Pride Game on the weekend, specifically because it is the Pride Game, they want to celebrate that, they want to say thank you to St Kilda.

“I think for every person who says this is not something that they want to see the AFL doing and are turning away, I think we’ll see twice as many people turning up in support of it.”

Click here for all your Pride Game information – including merchandise and tickets – and be part of history in the making.