Team players

Football chairman wants closeted players to come out together as a group

It sounds like the setup to a naughty movie, but it’s actually the goal of the chairman of the Football Association in England. Greg Clarke says he wants a whole bunch of “football” (what we call soccer, just to be difficult) players to to all come out of the closet at once this year.

It’s actually a really nice idea. It would mean that everyone would have a lot of support and help, and that fans would see just how many of their favorite players are queer. It would be particularly meaningful to LGBT fans.

Clarke was hesitant about recommending that players come out individually, because he is concerned about harassment in the organization that he runs. That’s kind of awful, but good for him for acknowledging a problem.

So what is he doing about it? Actually, a lot: he’s meeting with queer sports figures in private, and talking to players about what they want. (Nobody’s going to be forcibly outed.)

He’s also putting effort into welcoming black people into leadership roles — football/soccer teams have lagged somewhat in this area. Manager roles have historically disproportionately imbalanced along racial lines.

So for those of us capable of following along with British athletics, it’s an exciting time! It doesn’t make sense that players and managers wouldn’t reflect their fans, so changes like those Clarke is describing have been a long time coming.

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  • Kangol

    It would be nice if it happened in the NFL–US professional football–too, and in the NBA, MLB and NHL. So far, though, only a few brave players have dared do so while still playing (Michael Sam, Jason Collins, etc.). Where are all the rest?

  • Captain Obvious

    And then what? It’s a long hard road for men in those positions and not everyone wants to go through that. Let it happen organically. You can’t force it.

    Many people who are “different” have lost careers, families, and even their lives being the poster boy/girl. It’s not as simple as just standing together. The people on the front lines take the biggest risk and often don’t reap the rewards.

    It’s a lot to ask.

  • Jack Meoff

    “Greg Clarke says he wants a whole bunch of “football” (what we call soccer, just to be difficult) players to to all come out of the closet at once this year.”

    Ben Dougas who is it that you are accusing of being difficult, the English or Americans? It is a game invented in the UK so they can call it what they like.

  • Billy Budd

    This would be awesome. I hope Crissy Ronaldo will join the group.

  • Herman75

    When thinking how the Brits spread their Bible based laws to every corner of the planet that fell under their empire, calling for death for men that lay down with men, and how that harmful legacy remains today around the world, somehow I care a little bit less about what’s going on at a sportsball stadium in the UK.

  • Jack Meoff

    @Herman75: Right because the British Empire were the only culture that spread Christian based faiths and religious based laws that persecuted minorities and nobody else.

  • jjose712

    not going to happen. I keep hearing this soccer players coming out of the closet till mid 90’s, not going to happen, at least not soon

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