As a football fan, amateur footballer and a man (straight cis-man, for those wondering), I’ve always been curious about the apparent requirement a good few months ago for gay professional footballers to declare themselves as such.
I get that it could encourage openness and inclusion and all the positive effects of that but, at the time, I remember thinking that it was a bit of a witch hunt. Statistically one would assume that a gay Premier League football exists amongst the 400-500 of them, but known sexuality isn’t a requirement of the sport and I remember thinking that these groups talking about it sounded like they were actively going out and looking.
And so to that bastion of grand journalism, the Daily Star, this morning.
Such a backward step to the cause or trying to include and support.
The “story” comes from a former footballer Carl Hoefkins. It was hardly “exclusive” news – the interview was widely reported yesterday.
Hoefkins himself has posed for a gay magazine in the past and gave an interview to De Zondag in Belgium, where he said that two of his teammates in England were openly gay but wanted their private lives to be just that – private.
For a start, secrecy and privacy are two different things. The two players, the two men, weren’t be secretive. They were pretty open about it by the sounds of it, but they presumably didn’t see it as a matter of public interest. Not every footballer has to reveal their sexuality, because it’s not anyone else’s business.
Discussion about homophobia in sport is great. Speculation about sexuality isn’t. Making an issue out of someone possibly being gay isn’t. Outing players against their wishes does not promote inclusion.
Someone’s sexuality is not front page news. It’s not public news. It never should be. Well played, Daily Star. Well played.