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Brazilian Judge Causes Uproar over Gays and Futebol

Ah yes, discrimination is in the air in the world of soccer this week: first it was women and now it's gays. In Brazil, a judge caused an uproar recently when he declared that gay homosexuals don't belong in Brazilian soccer. The controversy flared up after Cruzeiro midfielder Richarlyson sued a Sao Paulo sporting director for insinuating that he was gay on national television.

Jose Cyrillo Junior "outed" the 24-year-old when a TV reporter asked if one of Sao Paulo's players was negotiating an exclusive television contract to announce his homosexuality. Cyrillo denied it, but added, "Richarlyson almost played for Palmeiras." The player responded by suing the Sao Paulo director for slander. Presiding Judge Manoel Maximiano Junqueira Filho later dismissed Richarlyson's claim, challenging the Cruzeiro midfielder to come out of the closet.

"Not that a homosexual can't play soccer," Filho wrote. "He can, but he must form his own team and federation, setting up matches with those who want to play against him." Filho said that Richarlyson should leave the game if in fact he is gay. He added that it's not "reasonable to accept homosexuals in Brazilian soccer because it would hurt the uniformity present" in team sport. Filho warned that homosexuals in the game could lead to a type of affirmative action forcing teams to fulfill a quota for gay players. Gay rights groups, of course, were outraged by these comments; Filho later voided his ruling, passed the case off to another district and took a leave of absence without saying when he would return. Richarlyson, who claims he is straight, told Brazilian TV: "This is a disrespect not only to me, it's a disrespect to Brazil. All that matters is if the player can do his job on the field." Right?

Read the whole story at Associated Press »

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