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Footballer says UK gay players ‘frightened’ to come out due to ‘media’ pressure

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  1. That There Other David 11 Sep 2012, 4:35pm

    Sorry Clarke, but the football establishment cannot blame the media or the fans for this. The people at fault are the managers, club board members, and the FA officials that want the status quo they grew up with to remain in place. Football fans are over this issue, as are sports journalists.

    1. New Aussie 12 Sep 2012, 4:01am

      I disagree. Have you read the sports pages of any UK tabloids. They are obsessed to the point of fanaticism with salaciously exaggerating the perceived sexual misdeeds of professional footballers. You only have to look at the way John Terry or Ashley Cole have been treated in recent years. Going back further, the excoriating media attacks on Graham Le Saux, who is not gay but who journalists insulated he was and the awful awful media campaign against Justin Fashanu that was a significant component in that mans eventual suicide. Really, you could have an entirely progressive management and FA and it would make squat all difference in a media climate like this.

      1. That There Other David 12 Sep 2012, 11:04am

        So is your argument that gay footballers might be treated the same as straight footballers are already being treated, or is it that Justin Fashanu was treated badly at a time when the tabloid media was vehemently anti-gay in general? This is exactly the same desire for the status quo that I mentioned in yesterday’s comment, albeit from a different starting position.

  2. I understand where Clark Carlisle is coming from with his comments:

    “You know it is one of the biggest bugbears for me that no player feels able to come out and talk openly about his sexual orientation”

    If there were not so much homophobia in the game perhaps people would come out! once out should they have to talk, discuss or even debate it? They are gay they come out end of story! No one should have to talk about their sexuality to justify it or explain it.. The only reason your expected to talk about it is so the media can type big headlines and make it sensational or a scandal!

    1. Precisely. This guy has basically admitted what we already knew: ‘football is living in the past”, ‘football is the last bastion of yesterday’s attitude’. He offers no solutions, no solidarity, no condemnation of bigotry and bullying. It’s time we let the sponsors know what kind of values they are buying into.

  3. This has dragged on for ages, and it is the same dreary, stale, sorry tale. (I do not care about anyone earning five-figure sums per week to be honest.)

    Nowhere in this article did Mr Clarke say what was being done to protect and empower young LGBT players, e.g. In the reserve, youth, and amateur league teams, to be open about who they are. That is millions of times more important.
    Secondly, if the media target any player with intimidation or innuendo – they wouldn’t now – be sure some of us would lay siege to that media group. This is not 1990.
    Third, this piece emphasises why we need to get racist and homophobic supporters filmed and put on YouTube, in their football shirts. We will do our utmost to associate the sponsors with bigotry. And once they run a mile, only then will Clarke and the FA cronies get the message. What are you, Mr Clarke, doing for LGBT people? Can’t you even say it’s a scandal to be in the closet, and that you are embarrassed to have bigots as fans?

  4. The clubs themselves aren’t doing enough to help either in my opinion.

    I’m an avid football fan and a season ticket holder at a Premier League football club and I contacted my club asking whether they’d be interested in setting up an LGBT supporters group and got no answer.

    In my mind, supporters are the ones who can change attitudes. The abuse starts on the terraces so visibility of gay fans can help to fight against that, hopefully leading to an environment that players are comfortable to some out in.

    If clubs aren’t prepared to help with something as simple as this, they’re part of the problem themselves. Regardless what FA “initiatives” they sign up to.

  5. Such a sad shame that in 2012 and on the verge of equal marriage rights this age old football issue drags on! We need a shift in opinion, attitude and more effective action from the sport itself. Interesting comment “Seven of the eight said they didn’t want to come out because they were worried about the media.” Yes the media will be all over any player who is found to be having some sort of affair or sexual relationship with someone,BUT thats regardless of what sex that partner might be. We need to encourage an atmosphere of ‘could’nt care less what sexuality you are’. Inclusion of such clauses in all football contracts would be a good start, stating a player could not be fired in such revaltions or ‘outing’ media reports. Its a sad inditement that players are effectivly having to live double lives in order to pursue their chosen career. The clubs ,the FA and managers attitude’s have to play their part in moving this issue forward.

  6. Staircase2 12 Sep 2012, 9:05pm

    Im a big fan of Clarke Carlisle – he talks a lot of sense and its great to see a professional Football Player talking so openly and eloquently about the issues of Equality.

    However, ironically, its all about balls….

    Someone SOMEWHERE has to have the balls to stand up and be counted (this is exactly what all the rest of us have had to do outside of Sport.)

    There’s often a perception among those in the closet that somehow noone has it as difficult as they do and that coming out of the closet is so much easier for everyone else.

    Truth is, its actually pretty much the same for everybody – it always takes balls to stand up for who you are. I understand that when huge amounts of money are at stake along with prestige of career then of course that adds extra pressure, but it still comes down to just standing up and saying ‘If I could be all you want me to be, then I would be someone else. So I CHOOSE to be me and tell you who I am’

  7. I have noticed for some time that football coverage verges on the homoerotic. Note how many tabloid photos are not of players in action, but standing with shirts partially or completely off, embracing other players, etc. Soccer is, I think, a way of sublimating suppressed gay feelings, you can rationalise looking at a man because he is a good player, not “fit” in any other sense. I overheard a conversation between 3 young men. One commented on his friend’s large penis adding hastily to the third “You never came in the showers, did you?” to explain his knowledge….

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