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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 4, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 05
Greek basketball players' union protests homophobic remarks
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Greek basketball players' union protests homophobic remarks

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Greek basketball players' union, PSAK, denounced homophobic remarks made by the management of Iraklis basketball team after a bizarre incident in which the team manager publicly humiliated his players after a loss to rival PAOK.

Iraklis lost to PAOK 87-68 in a game on January 29. The loss was not exactly unexpected, since Iraklis has the worst record in its league, with only three wins and 12 losses.

Nevertheless, Iraklis manager Giorgios Kalafatakis ordered his players to strip off their jerseys and leave them at center court before going back to their locker room.

He later apologized to Iraklis fans for play he described with the Greek word 'aderfistiko,' which means something like the American slang 'Gay,' signifying weak or effeminate.

In response, the players' union, PSAK, issued a statement condemning 'the attitude of the team administration and those who foster and tolerate homophobic statements.'

PSAK added that 'such practices do not promote the sport, but convert [it] into a Roman arena.'

Iraklis management struck back with their own statement quoting team captain Vladimir Petrovic that 'the players don't deserve to wear this team's jerseys.'

Management's statement went on to say that 'a club is not a contract, a car, and house with internet,' and ended with 'our players don't need a pimp,' referring to the union.

PSAK did not immediately respond.

Last October, the union declared a one-week strike which delayed the opening of Greece's national basketball championships.

PSAK called off the strike after riot police intervened to remove striking players from the court during the first game of the series.

Gay sex has been legal in Greece since 1951. Lesbian sex has never been addressed in Greek law.

The socialist PASOK party, which forms the government, is preparing a registered partnership law covering same-sex couples, but has delayed introducing the legislation while it struggles to deal with Greece's economic crisis.

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