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Australian Rules star Jason Akermanis has been suspended by his club over a controversial newspaper column in which he urged gay players to "stay in the closet".
The Western Bulldogs said Akermanis had been banned for two games for reneging on an agreement to let the club approve his Herald-Sun comment piece before publication.
"We wish to make it clear that had we seen this article, it would never have been approved," a Bulldogs statement said.
Akermanis, 33, has been heavily criticised over the column, which argued that the deeply traditional, Gaelic football-style sport was not ready for its first openly gay player.
"Imagine the publicity associated with a current player admitting he's gay. It would be international news and could break the fabric of a club," he wrote.
Senior Australian Football League (AFL) figures distanced themselves from the comments, while unknown assailants pelted the three-time championship winner's house and car with eggs.
Akermanis, the 2001 Brownlow medallist or player of the season, accepted his punishment and said his focus was on keeping his place in the team.
"At the end of the day I want to play in this team so I'll do what it takes to play in that team," he said.
Despite a celebrated sporting culture, Australia has few openly gay athletes, with Olympic swimmer Daniel Kowalski, diver Matthew Mitcham and former rugby league international Ian Roberts among the exception.
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