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It’s Time to Overthink The Hell Out of the British Soccer Smooch

So, this happened. Gary Neville, the captain of Manchester United, smooched Paul Scholes after he scored game-winning goal just 20 seconds before Saturday’s as-yet no-score game ended. ESPN uploaded a photo and slugged its filename as “nevillegay.” The Independent turned it into a punny headline; as did the Daily Mail. But the best “What does this mean for all of football?” think piece goes to The Guardian‘s Paul MacInnes, with the headline, “When men’s lips meet: By kissing Paul Scholes, Gary Neville declared war on homophobia. And Francophobia, too.”

This was, evidently, the most dramatic public display of affection to take place on grass in the history of mankind.

The kiss exchanged by Neville and Scholes, or rather the one foisted upon Scholes by Neville, was broadcast around the world. It said a lot about what victory, the crucial three points as they say, meant to Manchester United. It also said a lot about Gary Neville. He is, after all, more commonly associated with the passionate expression of emotions other than love; as exemplified by his apparently unassuaged loathing of scousers and a general antipathy towards footballing officialdom.

Such a gesture – normally expected of the male lead in a Jennifer Aniston movie – showed Neville in a whole new light. And it could yet prove to be totemic. Professional football, a sport constantly expected to provide role models for the nation’s children, remains quite remarkable for the fact that throughout its upper echelons there is not one player, not a single one, who says he is homosexual. While the law of averages would suggest there ought to be at least one XI of gay players in the Premier League, none has come out. Even when the Welsh rugby international Gareth Thomas came out late last year, no footballer followed his lead. They’re all straight, you see, every single one of them.

And now, all of a sudden, Neville’s smooch is going to CHANGE. THE. WORLD.

Perhaps Neville can change all that. He may be married with two kids, but if this crazy, untamed, obsessional partisan feels that the only way of truly conveying his feelings is to lock lips with a bemused redhead then surely there’s a broader message that could be made from it? The Manchester Pride event runs through the last 10 days of August this year. Neville should be invited as a guest of honour.

Our sarcasm shouldn’t downplay the bold move. Homophobia in sports is a big problem, and efforts to fight it should be commended. But did we really witness anything more than an ass slap? A crotch grab? Sure, some open-mouth snogging in front of an arena of fans, and television cameras, makes for great headlines. But this was just one more form of male-on-male expression of affection for a job well done — and one that’s been done before.

It’s not like they’re going home to fuck.

By:           editor editor
On:           Apr 19, 2010
Tagged: , , , ,

  • 11 Comments
    • t money
      t money

      i think its just an expression of happiness and excitement. it wasnt uncommon for men to kiss/peck on the lips when greeting eachother in the late 1800s and early 1900’s.
      now they do it on the cheek, if at all. it can be like family members kissing. (team mates can form very tight bonds) but its also very european. when i used to watch the local college team play, the most affectionate players where the ones from abroad. i remeber one (a romanian) running to the stands and planting a big kiss on his mates. its purely innocent, and i hope it continues.

      Apr 19, 2010 at 1:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lamar
      Lamar

      It was obviously just a “heat of the moment” moment, it’s blatantly not going to become acceptable for men to show affection openly towards the same sex simply because of this.

      Apr 19, 2010 at 2:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike
      Mike

      Who cares! It is friggin’ hot and that’s all that counts!
      I love it and there’s no need to read into anything…

      Apr 19, 2010 at 3:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • clark
      clark

      @Mike: Agreed!! It gave me a stiffy!

      Apr 19, 2010 at 6:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon (still the other)
      Jon (still the other)

      Yesterday, I kissed my Sister in front of all the kids/grandkids/family. . . granted, it was her birthday, and in greeting. . .my Nephew said “ewwwwwwwww he kissed a girl” . .they took freaking pics.

      Apr 19, 2010 at 8:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark

      @Jon (still the other):

      That gave me a great chuckle! Thanks for that!!

      Apr 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      How can there be a “game-winning goal” in a “no score game?” If he got a goal, even if it’s the only one, it’s not a no score game, is it?

      Apr 19, 2010 at 9:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Juan
      Juan

      I can totally see why Neville kissed Scholes. I mean, I would.

      Apr 19, 2010 at 9:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mysanthropic Destiny
      Mysanthropic Destiny

      Its cute, but who cares?

      Apr 19, 2010 at 11:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • NellyAlgren
      NellyAlgren

      God I wish that was me.

      Apr 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Giovannidude
      Giovannidude

      Hetero pro athletes in the U.S. have kissed before, just not on the field. Jim Bouton claimed in “Ball Four” that players kissed on the Seattle team bus. At first, they would place their hand over the kiss recipient’s mouth before kissing. Then they dispensed with the hand thing, and just kissed other players on the lips.

      Apr 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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