I was scrolling twitter today when I came across this tweet from Pink News, an "LGBT digital media publisher" regarding gay Premier League footballers fear around coming out...
It's not the first time I've seen a tweet cite "fear" as the reason closeted athletes don't come out, but for some reason this time it bugged me. I opened the article hoping the story would be different from the headline but it wasn't. It was the same old familiar tale of grown men who are afraid of what the pubic will think of them...
A number of male Premier League footballers have come out as gay to their teammates while continuing to hide their sexuality in public, an insider has claimed.
The claim came from former England women’s team footballer Eniola Aluko, who says gay male footballers won’t risk coming out in the public domain because of the homophobic backlash they’d face.
Which in my opinion is complete bullshit. I'm not discounting the fear around coming out, but think about it…what's going to happen? You're going to be called a faggot? You're going to get made fun of by some jerk in the stands? People are going to chant things at you? Those things very well could happen, but the upside to that temporary discomfort is enormous, not just for you, but for every single LGBTQ person across the country. That's why I respect Colin Martin so much. He had the balls to come out of the closet while he was playing in the MLS. He didn't give a shit what people thought of him. Granted, I assume it's easier to come out in Minnesota than it is in other parts of the world, but still, grow up. If you have a platform and you can do good you are required to use it. Not only that, I guarantee it'll help your career. Even if it doesn't work out in your sport, it'll work out outside of it. Being gay in 2020 is considered "brand safe." How crazy is that? There's no way you don't get sponsorship deals.
Gay athletes who say the culture is too toxic to come out are contributing to that culture by not coming out. It's frustrating because I know that there are gay professional athletes in every sport. There has to be, yet for some reason all these big macho men can't muster up the courage to be who they really are and that's sad. Think about how many lives they'd change if they came out. Think about all the LGBTQ kids who would have a role model. Someone like them. Someone to whom they can relate.
I'm sick of the conversation being "let athletes come out at their own pace." Fuck that. If you're an athlete and you're closeted, the time is now. The year is 2020. Get over yourself and change the world. You're going to be suprised at how many people have your back.