It looked like we were finally set to see some progress in football when a current Championship player took to Twitter to explain he would be coming out soon. Unfortunately the account has since been deleted and the potential breakthrough has gone.
As reported in The Guardian, the account originally indicated they would hold a press conference today to reveal their identity. Unfortunately the account was deleted last night. The tweets are no longer available but the Guardian story has a copy of them.
The first one read: “I thought I was stronger. I was wrong”
This was shortly followed up with another that said: “Call me all the names under the sun, belittle me and ridicule me, a lot will, and I can’t change that, but I’m not strong enough to do this. Just remember that I’ve got feelings, without coming out I can’t convince anybody otherwise, but this isn’t a hoax. I wouldn’t do that.”
The Guardian report states the player was believed to be playing in The English Championship and under the age of 23.
It’s a tremendous shame but understandable given concerns about any backlash or attitudes towards homosexuality in sport. The Sun ran a story yesterday detailing that a Premier League player wanted to come out but the club was worried about a fan backlash.
The last British male player to publicly come out was almost 20 years when Justin Fashanu came out in 1990.
It means we have gone almost 20 years with no role model or example for current players. It may be that there are so many in the same situation, but they don’t want to be the first one to do it.
It’s abhorrent that we have players in Britain who don’t feel they are able to publicly express their sexuality because of their association in football, given it’s accepted in so many other parts of society.
Of course this is a completely different situation, but you can see some similarities with the situation that faced NFL star Colin Kaepernick when he publicly protested during the national anthem.
He was admired and praised by so many, but because of many fans with backwards attitudes his career as a player is now over because clubs are too scared of how those fans will react.
Perhaps current footballers are scared it would overshadow their playing career. It’s worth noting that Marvin Sordell and Gary Lineker deserve praise for publicly supporting the player on Twitter.
Football has shown the ability to unite people of all backgrounds and history has shown us brilliant players come from all races. We now need to extend that acceptance to players’ sexual preferences too.