At the end of October reports from the Daily Mirror, suggesting that that two top players were set to come out as gay with support from their clubs, hit the headlines causing furore and speculations of who those players might be.
This week, on an interview with BBC NewsNight aired last Wednesday, Premier League chief Richard Scudamore re-ignited the fuss surrounding the issue saying that if a footballer was to come out “it would be welcomed and I think there would be a tolerance to it. I think the time would be right to do that.”
Scudamore’s encouraging position on homosexuality in football demonstrates that inducing discussion is the best way to demystify the topic.
Chatting to Evan Davis, Scudamore said that gay footballers would be treated with respect if they choose to publicly reveal their sexuality.
When asked if he thought there were gay footballers in the Premier league, Scudamore said: “I’m absolutely sure there are. It will be very strange if there wasn’t.
“I think the environment would be entirely suitable for them to come out.”
In 1990, Justin Fashanu became the first, and so far only, male professional footballer playing within England’s top four divisions to come out.
The former Norwich City striker sadly took his own life in 1998 at the age of 37.
In Scotland things don’t seem to be any different. As it stands, there are no openly gay footballers playing in any of the Scottish professional leagues.
“We are aware that our clubs across all leagues carry out an abundance of work, including in their communities, to promote diversity and acceptance in Scottish football.”
Scottish Sports journalist, Graham Spiers, who writes for The Times and The Herald and has over 20 years of experience covering sports, told KaleidoScot that he “hope[s] we do see a gay footballer coming out soon in Scotland and speaking about his sexuality.”
He added: “the sooner anti-gay prejudice ends, the better.
“In football, or in sport in general, if gay people are fearful about their situation, that cannot be right. So I just think someone speaking confidently and openly and wisely about their homosexuality would serve a purpose.
“It would help to eradicate decades of fear and anxiety, and even, in some cases, guilt.”
Will a professional gay footballer ever come out? That may never happen, but with pitches and discussion opens, the closet’s doors become easier to open too.