Despite what this Australian rules football player has said, the culture of sport is not very accepting. His views sound like those of the Catholic church, which would prefer the issue to be kept away from polite society.
Or he’s gay and doesn’t want to come out!
You cannot say there is no need for it because the football world is not ready for it…. if it’s not ready for it, then that’s exactly why it needs to happen.
The homophobia perpetuated by football thugs and football players is not a “non issue” or “irrelevant”. Revealing to people that gay people can be footballers just like anyone else is an incredibly important message.
If I knew a famous football player who was in the closet, I would out him. Harsh perhaps, but I feel this is one of the last bastions of serious homophobia left in Western civilisation, and it’s imperative it’s dealt with. If the cost is a few gay men unwillingly being exposed for who they are, then I’m fine with it.
Chris, that’s just outrageous. I cannot believe that vicimising people who choose not to be out is the answer here. The answer is to change the culture so that people feel comfortable with coming out. I’m finding it difficult to find the words for the contempt I feel at your suggestion.
Well I find it difficult to find words for the contempt I have for the cowardly closet cases who, through their inaction, cause a huge amount of problems for braver people who don’t hide themselves in the closet.
I agree that a change in culture is needed, but that will come about a lot faster if the gay footballers that we know are out there stop hiding. They must be acutely aware of the damage homophobia is causing both to the sport and to individuals, and yet continue their silence.
I had hoped that Gareth Thomas would have opened the flood gates, but I suppose the lack of people to follow in his footsteps helps illustrate just how ingrained the homophobia is. They have a huge amount of encouragement and support waiting for them on the “other side”, there’s been plenty of opportunity to speak up and help stop all of this hatred and bigotry, and yet every footballer in the world has opted for acquiesence.
I therefore, at this point, see outing them as a viable option. Not sorry.
Justin Fashanu (sp?) was brave and came out of the closet. He ended up hanging from a rope somewhere.
You can’t just out people in what remains a toxic environment. It’s dangerous. Famous people aren’t any different to anyone else in a volatile homophobic environment, they’re extremely vulnerable and the big pay cheque won’t protect them.
If a footballer chooses to come out of their own volition then they should be supported and encouraged but they have to make that choice themselves.
In the meantime it would be best to direct our efforts in campaigning for the powers that be in football or aussie rules etc. to do something to alleviate homophobia
Your first two paragraphs are excellent and make good points. Your third is outrageous. Taking it upon yourself to reveal personal information about friends is not a ‘noble crusade’ for equal rights. It’d be a mean and cruel betrayal.
That information would not be yours to do with as you please. Appalling idea.
The fact that no player in Australian Rules Football past or present has felt comfortable enough to come out speaks volumes in itself about the problematic culture within the sport. There are a number of current players who are well known within certain circles to be gay, but still choose not to come out (thankfully there is a tacit rule in Australian media not to out anyone who doesn’t want to). Thus the ‘sick fascination’ is bound to continue… Although it’s true that the AFL has consistently and repeatedly offered public support for gay people, it sounds like they have a lot more work to do to clean up their act internally.
Some of those quotes could of come out of the Max Clifford scaring footballers to stay in the closet hand book.
I’m sure the world will still keep on turning if gay footballers come out.
Sounds like he wants “don’t ask-don’t tell” applied to professional football.Sorry- we’ve been forced into the closet by people like him for years. Its Over!
I don’t like his choice of words “sick fascination”.
I think it would be a whole lot better if professional players were able to come out because the culture accepted that.
To change the culture requires the issue to be talked about.
I do not support outing people unless there is clear and obvious hypocracy in their choice to conceal their orientation; even then it should be the exception rather than the rule. People, regardless of who or what they are, should be able to choose who they disclose any personal information about themselves to. That should include celebrities and sports stars.