Joey Barton will this evening lead the Queens Park Rangers’ commitment to join a leading anti-homophobia initiative.
This evening, Barton and the QPR team will follow in the footsteps of QPR Ladies, and will wear t-shirts in support of the Football V Homophobia (FvH)campaign at a match against Wigan Athletic.
On the team’s website, he said: “It shouldn’t even be an issue in this day and age. It’s completely irrelevant what anybody’s sexual orientation is. People should be judged purely on what they represent as a human being. If they are good at what they do, they’re good at what they do.
“What sexual orientation they are isn’t anybody’s business but their own. As long as someone is a good person and treats people fairly, that’s all they should be judged on.
“The onus is on football, as the number one sport in society, to set the tone. We can be better at it, we can be better at tackling issues, but if we tackle them correctly it can lead to a lot of enlightenment and lead to people’s attitudes changing.”
He added: “Hopefully campaigns like this, and campaigns that have gone before – and hopefully campaigns that will come in the future – will see people’s sexuality become less of an issue.
“Wouldn’t it be great if, one day, campaigns like this weren’t even necessary? Hopefully that day will come.
“Football is certainly becoming a lot more tolerant. I believe it still has a long way to go but it is moving in the right direction. What’s important is that people keep nudging it along.”
FvH is endorsed and supported by The Football Association, Premier League, Football League, League Managers Association and Kick It Out. FvH enables people to take action against prejudice and discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity in football, and to celebrate and welcome diversity in the game.