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Yet more proof that football is still very backward on the issue of tolerance.
Max Clifford stated: “I’ve had two high-profile Premier League football clients in the past five years who’ve been gay or bisexual and my advice has been not to make that public. For a top player to come out, I would envisage they’d be a hard man, with an established reputation, and perhaps a year or two at most left in the game, so if coming out brought too much hardship, it wouldn’t matter so much professionally.”
It’s a very sad state of affairs that in 2011 there is still an issue with footballers who are too afraid to reveal their sexuality and one wonders if the game as a whole has really done enough to combat the problem, both in the stands and on the pitch.
Given that the only openly gay footballer in the history of the English game felt so alienated and ostracised by doing so that he took his own life, Justin Fashanu, it would appear that any perceived lack of tolerance is indeed rooted in reality. One would hope that in this day and age the football loving public, and footballers themselves, such intolerance would be a basic right that homosexuals in the game should expect, but it seems that the game is still very much behind the times on such matters.
We all know about the individuals in other sports who have felt confident enough to ‘come out of the closet’, although clearly only a fraction of sportsmen and women feel comfortable enough to do so, so why is it that the world of football is so far behind the times?