Over at Pitch Invasion, I discuss Gareth Thomas’s coming out and ask if we can expect something similar in football. The answer, I suspect, is probably not.
Out of all the things I’ve written on sport, this has definitely been one of the most thought-provoking pieces for me. One thought that occurred to me post-article was the treatment of players post-outing.
I’d imagine that there’s a few sportsman where their sexuality is reasonably well-known, but it’s not in the media’s interest to out them, giving they stopped doing that for the sake of it several years back.
But once they’re out, there’s nothing stopping the media going to town, if they want to. And that, in itself, may be worse.
Throw in, for football at least (which tends to be a lot less tolerant than rugby) the dressing room politics and the terrace chants and its easy to understand why Justin Fashanu remains the only footballer to have come out.
I never thought I’d find myself agreeing with Max Clifford, but he’s probably not alone in being surprised that we haven’t had another footballer come out in the last decade.
There’s a lot of other considerations in this that people with far better knowledge of the topic than I could discuss, but it’s interesting none the less.
And, at the end of the day, to me Gareth Thomas is a legend for his leadership and play during that Six Nations championship. He’s always been one of my favourite Welsh players (the fact he now plays for the Blues reinforces his). That is he gay is utterly irrelevant. I somehow doubt there’ll be any equivalent in football any time soon.