max clifford

“I’ve had two high-profile Premier League football clients in the past five years who’ve been gay or bisexual and my advice has been not to make that public”

SOUNDBITES — “Do I think that’s right? Of course not. It’s a very sad state of affairs. But it’s a fact that homophobia in football is as strong now as it was 10 years ago. If you’d asked me in 2000 whether I thought we’d have a famous, openly gay footballer by 2010 I would have said yes. You look across society and see openly gay people in music, movies, television, politics, the clergy, and it’s not a problem, nor in many sports. It’s not that footballers are homophobic but the fans can be vicious. … I’ve had two high-profile Premier League football clients in the past five years who’ve been gay or bisexual and my advice has been not to make that public. For a top player to come out, I would envisage they’d be a hard man, with an established reputation, and perhaps a year or two at most left in the game, so if coming out brought too much hardship, it wouldn’t matter so much professionally.” —British PR guru Max Clifford, advising gay pro footballers (i.e. soccer players, to ya yankees) to stay in the closet, a recommendation that arrives on the heels of rugby star Gareth Thomas coming out (via)

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  • mark Segal

    In The U.S. It’s not just football it’s almost all professional sports. Over the years as publisher of Philadelphia Gay News I’ve been called or met with gay members of all the professional teams here and elsewhere. The Phillies, Eagles, flyers and others would have made great stories, but they came to me off the record and for advice.

    My advice has been do what you feel is best for you. If the closet is to small come out, BUT be prepared for the reaction of your team mates and the front office. Sponsorship deals, and publicity. None, not one made an announcement. two began to go out publicly to gay businesses, and another one to my great delight showed up at a fund raiser for an LGBT organization i helped organize.

    It’s their lives and their decision on how to live it.

  • Josh NYC

    T.O. and Michael Vick.

  • CHIP1218

    Hey Mark, was that in the closet baseball player the editor of Out was dating almost a decade ago a Philly? They said non-star but popular on East Coast team…I just assumed it was an Oriole.

  • TommyOC

    A professional athlete is the only job in the world where 100% of its participants are doing what they love, day in, day out. If you could do it while being you… well, that would be just gravy, wouldn’t it?

    Money should be secondary. And once it’s not, then you’ve perverted the reason you started playing in the first place.

    Sports are also about one thing: Merit. They always have been. The Dodger didn’t bring in Jackie Robinson because they were fighting the good fight, they brought in Jackie Robinson because the color barrier needed to be broken – because ballplayers greater than Jackie were in a talent pool off-limits due to skin color. In other words, the trouble of having a “different” player was worth it… because that player – and others like him – produced results.

    If a gay player has statistics that back up him being on a team, no one will drop him for fear of being labeled the homophobic squad. Baseball would be the greatest sport for someone to come out in if only because baseball is a sport that’s a collection of individual efforts to produce a team result. On top of that, statistics in that sport are tracked ten ways to Sunday… and they don’t lie. You do well and your numbers will irrefutably prove it.

  • jason

    Doesn’t this PR guru understand that it’s attitudes like his which perpetuate the secrecy and shame? It’s one thing to say it’s not OK that the secrecy and shame persist but it’s totally contradictory to then say that it’s better to not come out. Such homophobic reasoning does not serve well the cause of removing the shame.

    Beware of supposedly open-minded people who then use homophobic reasoning to justify keeping us in the closet.

  • Stef

    Anyone who follows Premier League have any guesses on who it could be?

    Ronaldo comes to mind. Kaka also comes to mind. Wayne Rooney is married, but God knows that doesn’t stop anyone…

  • wannabegay

    guti hernandez, a player from real madrid was photographed by paparazzi while kissing another man. adrian mutu, a romanian top player from fiorentina participated in an “orgy” and was filmed as well… others? i have no idea. in premier league there are a LOT of great players, so the situation is kinda vague. anyways, remember JUSTIN FASHANU, a player that committed suicide in 2001 after coming out.

  • naghanenu


    Ronaldo is in love in himself. Kaka…well..not sure. Rooney looks like someone u
    Would see beating up a gay man than being one himself

  • Marcus

    Max Clifford seems to advise EVERYONE to stay in the closet whether they’re footballers or not.

    He’s part of the problem.

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

    @ stef

    Sol Campbell and Frank Lampard…and Ashley Cole (remember those pictures and that rumour?)

  • blackjack44

    @JoshNYC theyre talking about soccer players not american football players

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