LGBT activist Laura Doughty of the Stonewall organization is looking to change the way professional footballers in England and Scotland view their LGBT teammates, starting from the ground up. Literally.
The LGBT rights group has sent sets of rainbow laces to all Premier League and Football League clubs, plus the 42 teams in the Scottish Professional Football League, in hopes that players will wear them in solidarity with LGBT teammates on September 21 and 22.
In February, professional footballer Robbie Rogers promptly retired from the sport after coming out in a note on his website, claiming the “pack mentality” of his teammates made it almost impossible for him to be accepted. Shortly after, he found acceptance in America after signing with the LA Galaxy.
“It’s time for football clubs and players to step up and make a visible stand against homophobia in our national game,” Doherty said, clarifying that the Right Behind Gay Footballers campaign is aimed at changing attitudes rather than urging players to come out.
“By wearing rainbow laces players will send a message of support to gay players and can begin to drag football into the 21st century,” she added.
But the times may already be ahead of Doherty. While these colorful laces certainly won’t hurt the cause, a recent study found that 100% of college-aged footballers in the UK would openly accept a gay teammate. How’s that for progress?
[Photo: Yorkshire Post]