The Bounce
Doing it for the fans

Will we ever see gay footballers in the Premier League?

WRITTEN BY THE EDITOR ON MAY 16, 2017. POSTED IN SPORTS

Football is massive. As the world's biggest sport it reaches far and wide, and brings people together like nothing else. By incorporating so many people then, it pretty much incorporates all elements of life. The good, the bad, the everything else.

Football has certainly had its problems in the past though. From corruption to racism, the uglier side of life has always been a part of the game, with a more sensitive issue now coming more to the fore.

Homosexuality, and the topic of gay footballers.

It's a touchy subject that nobody seems to want to address, or deal with. Head of the FA, Greg Clarke though, to his credit, seems to be throwing himself at the subject with all his energy. After making some pedestrian comments last year, he is now seemingly doing all he can.

In a recent speech however, Clarke has started to further lay bare the problems he is encountering in his efforts.

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Now as a heterosexual sports loving male, I find this all a little disappointing. Whenever I have had to perform in a sporting sense in my life, no matter the field of play, my sexual preference never really came into things.

So whether you are stopping a shot on goal, delivering a through ball, or heading a ball into the goal, gay/straight/bisexual doesn't really come into it.

But as Clarke has been saying in the press, there are still no 'confirmed' gay footballers in the premier league in England. If you look at a snap shot of society, you could conservatively say 5 in every hundred men are going to be gay. Out of the 20 teams in the premier league with squads of 25 players, that's no gay guys out of 500!

The reality of the situation

This isn't an issue for stats and speculation though, but rather one of sobering reality. Try as Greg Clarke and the FA have in reaching out to gay footballers by insisting they will engage with them at any time or place, it's obvious this won't happen.

I mean could you imagine one of Clarke's ideas of all the gay footballers 'coming out' at the start of the season together actually happening? Social media would have a field day as people are just shit in that way.

This is the bottomline here sadly. No matter what the FA try do, general football/male society get very uncomfortable around homosexuality. I mean, David Beckham was constantly roasted for being 'meterosexual', and that's not even really a thing. If any player had to declare they were homosexual, it would be like an early retirement.

I know this, you know this, the players certainly know this.

But you are just being negative and borderline homophobic I hear some say. I'm neither of those things, but I am a keen observer of real life. Gay footballers will never be accepted, only judged and abused by the predominantly male fan base.

By using Arsenal FanTV as a reference, I shall explain.

No disrespect to the gentleman being interview (I have no knowledge of his sexuality), but he is a fair reflection of your average English football fan. So for the sake of this piece he is our 'reference guy'.

He loves his football, enjoys being part of the crowd, and enjoys going to the stadium every week where he can scream and shout at people with their being no consequences. One of the boys, loves a pint, some crude humour and going out on the pull with his mates.

If a player in his team were to come out and announce he is gay, what do you think this 'fan' would be saying at the pub with his mate?

"Yeah, good on <insert name>, nice that he is being true to himself and letting the world know who he really is. It'll be good for the club, and probably good for team moral."

Or would he say something like this...

"Did you hear that <insert name> has come out? Yeah, he's a poof. No wonder we can't make the fuckin' top 4 anymore, we have homos like him prancing around the dressing room..."

Call me cynical, but it's going to be the latter right?

Right from day one in primary school, us men have always attacked the weakest link. Perhaps it's in our DNA, and sadly 'homosexuality' in the eyes of many is still very much a weakness.

Homophobia is perhaps even more entrenched than racism nowadays, as people tolerate it more and the jokes and ridicule are often seen as nothing more than 'innocent fun'.

We have all been guilty of it in some way or another, and if you are guilty of it, and you aren't a shit person, just imagine what a charged up football fan is like with hundreds of like minded individuals around him at a stadium, with a target to narrow their prejudices on!

The moment the gay player makes a mistake on the field, the insults will be hurled. There will be songs dedicated to them, chants and banners, it will be relentless.

The FA's Greg Clarke says the same problems aren't encountered in women's football, but Greg, with all due respect, homosexuality in women's football isn't that much of a surprise. It's inclusive as it is a lot more balanced like that, and women aren't as mean and immature about such things.

If I were a gay footballer, I would also probably keep my head down and keep up with the straight act for the duration of my career. Forget about the fans for a second, if you were to be a known gay player, I bet you will get targeted in play as well by certain opposition players. Your sexuality would probably impact negatively on you when it came to transfer deals too.

So what is to be done then?

The inevitable yet impossible question. The FA can arrange all manner of private meetings, engaging with certain players and getting their thoughts, but it's all a waste of time.

Homophobia is a sad societal issue which goes far beyond football or any other sport. For as long as people believe that homosexuals are different in a negative way, tolerance will never change, and these issues will exist forever. It starts at the home obviously in teaching your kids that there is nothing wrong with being gay. It continues in the schools where kids must realise that we are all a little different, and must be respected for that.

Then of course it is the job of the clubs and leagues to do what they can to make things more inclusive. But that is impossible if you are inheriting the failed results of these two other elements.

Personally I just don't understand the hate. Any moment spent hating or maliciously judging others is a moment spent not bettering yourself or finding the best in life. Sounds a bit cliched I know, but it's true.

Also, as an Arsenal fan after yet another disappointing season, would some gay players and coaches be any worse? Maybe this sort of influence could be the catalyst needed in finally becoming a proper big club!

Moral of the story, don't hate and try not discriminate. It really hasn't done much for us up to this stage anyway.



Tags: gay footballers, greg clarke fa, homosexuality in football, gay soccer, gay, homosexual sport

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