THE idea of having men playing netball in an organised league is not a priority of the Jamaica Netball Association, but the group managing the local sport would not be against it starting up here.
Netball, largely a woman's sport, is played by men in organised competition in some of the sport's leading countries, among them Australia and New Zealand, whose teams also travel to tournaments overseas.
But with a stigma attached to the sport as one that should be kept along female lines, as far as playing it is concerned, having a men's league in a homophobic society like Jamaica could raise eyebrows.
Jamaica Netball Association President Marva Bernard told journalists at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange hosted at its offices in St Andrew that although the sport was played by men in some countries in an organised way, preliminary checks had shown that it would be difficult to organise one here.
"We have thought about it, but I am not sure that the demand is there, although we have always had a group of men and boys that play with the ladies on a Friday night," Bernard said.
"I really don't know about whether or not there would be a backlash. I know we are homophobic, but we are also an equal opportunity sport.
"Our informal investigations have shown that there is not a great demand out there for males to play. What we really want to do is to have mixed netball (men and women) at a younger age.
"Mixed netball is something that would be pioneering here, but is not new to the sport. It teaches boys how to integrate with girls, so that is a product that we have to sell -- mixed netball," she said.
High Performance director and former national player and coach, Maureen Hall urged men to set up their own association if they felt the need to.
"Nobody is stopping the men from forming their own association and having their league -- they had one before and it wasn't sustained, so the group can get together, establish their own association and get their clubs going ... it's really not our responsibility.
"They have men's international competition from time to time," but also for recreational netball, you do have the mixed leagues in Australia and New Zealand," Hall said.
"The purists will not want it (male netball), but nothing is constant in life except change," Bernard added.