150 million reasons Manly must phone NBL star Isaac Humphries
In the space of three minutes, Melbourne United basketballer Isaac Humphries showed the world what courage looks like. He also embarrassed Australia’s biggest sporting codes.
by David Riccio
Manly CEO Tony Mestrov should already be on a plane to Melbourne.
If award-winning singer, Tones and I, and Aussie singer and TV personality Dannii Minogue know how to get in touch with NBL club Melbourne United’s front office, so can an NRL boss.
In the space of three minutes last Wednesday, Melbourne United basketballer Isaac Humphries showed the world what courage looks like.
Humphries’ powerful video, where he painfully admits an attempt to take his life because he hated who he was, before declaring the moment that he realised he no longer had to hide he was gay, will reach a global audience of more than 150 million people by tonight.
“The truth is there are so many people in other worlds that are struggling every single day and don’t know how to get up, (and) don’t know how to exist. I know how that feels, and I want to represent those people,‘’ Humphries said.
“That’s my goal behind this: make sure people know you can be whatever you want, no matter who you are or what you do. You can be ‘Big Ice’ and be gay, and you can still be a great basketball player and be gay. You can do whatever you want.‘’
No other individual in Australian sport this year has connected with the rest of the world like Humphries has.
Within the first 24 hours of Humphries’ video, it was viewed more than five million times, with two million views on Twitter, as well as more than three million more views across TikTok and Instagram.
CNN International, with a reach of 40-plus million, splashed their home page with Humphries’ emotional story.
The NBA’s official Twitter posted this to their 40 million followers: “We are proud and grateful to Isaac for sharing his story. We know the real impact his honesty and courage will have on many others. Isaac has our unwavering respect and support.’’
NBA star Pau Gasol attached the video to his more than seven million followers with a post that spoke about his pride in Humphries.
The likes, retweets and shares are still going today.
Spanish football giant FC Barcelona posted its support on its official Twitter of 45 million.
Basketball luminaries Lauren Jackson, Andrew Gaze, Jason Collins, Chris Anstey – they all praised Humphries.
There were few, if any, supportive posts from NRL clubs.
A basketball club with an administration staff list of just 18 and budget far less has embarrassed the country’s biggest codes.
It’s been four months since Manly was gripped by confusion and division over a jersey that has ruined careers.
The Sea Eagles, in the wake of their rainbow jersey fiasco, still don’t know what they plan to do with the jersey next year.
It took United – formerly the Melbourne Tigers – just one week to devise a respectful and polished announcement that has led to a proud 24-year-old Aussie captivating the world.
United staff members sat around a table last week and came together around Humphries.
They finished the meeting to emerge with a culture so determined to support, embrace and aid one of their own, that when other sporting franchises want to start talking up their principles, they should sit back down.
It was United coach Dean Vickerman who first met with Humphries inside his home last week.
Humphries broke the news to his coach before then meeting with United CEO Nick Truelson to explain how he wanted to tell his teammates – and the rest of the world.
David McFarland, who manages Humphries’ off-field interests, was also part of the discussion.
McFarland was also responsible for helping A-League footballer Josh Cavallo become the first openly gay men’s footballer in the world earlier this year.
“It was a huge week to get everything planned,” Truelson said.
“We planned it 24/7 together, but at the same time, we kept it all strict confidentiality.
“The rawness you see in the video of Isaac telling his teammates is very real and it was a huge moment for him.
“It was so exciting for me to see all of his teammates’ reaction of applause and support for him.
“The reaction has obviously been immense. Tones And I rang me straight after the video to tell me she would be at the game (last Thursday night) as a sign of support, Dannii Minogue is also a fan of the club and voiced her support.
“When I originally caught up with Isaac at our offices, I felt proud that Isaac saw us as a club that would be willing to stand alongside him at this moment.
“We love the fact that Isaac wants to be a trailblazer for young boys and girls who are really struggling with their sexuality, to know that you can be a top athlete in men’s sport, especially.
“When you look at men’s sport, not just basketball, but all men’s sport globally, the fact that Isaac is the first openly gay basketballer, shows we’ve got a way to go.
“That’s a really powerful conversation that Isaac wants to have with anyone who has questions.’’
Pick up the phone, Manly.