Rainbow Sporting Heroes

Gareth Thomas Likes Perking the PansiesAs Olympic fever goes into hyperdrive, I was thinking about homophobia in sport, particularly the beautiful game. Even though the likes of David Beckham are in touch with their feminine side and Eric Cantona is prone to writing a poetic line or two, there are no fairies in top flight football, apparently. Why is this, I wonder? Even rugby, the butchest of sports, has the wonderful Gareth Thomas quietly waving his rainbow flag. There was Justin Fashanu a few years back, of course, but his revelation led to excommunication by the soccer establishment, misery and his eventual suicide. It was a shameful episode.

Despite a campaign by UEFA to stamp out homophobia (as well as racism), the footie fraternity still thinks of itself as the last bastion of traditional machismo, both in Blighty and across this soccer-obsessed world. Nowadays, these obscenely overpaid dandies are preened, pressed and waxed to within an inch of their lives. They also drive too fast, drink too much, brawl in public, chase empty-headed bottle blonds with assisted tits and visit prostitutes old enough to be their mothers. Well, not all of them do, but you get my drift.

Imagine, therefore, a startled Gallic nation that witnessed Olivier Giroud grab teammate Mathieu Debuchy’s face and land a big French smacker* full on the lips. Debuchy did not squirm or resist. This heat of the moment intimate encounter occurred just after Giroud scored for France in an international friendly with Germany a few months ago. Shocking, but then, that’s the French for you.

This French kissing malarky seems to be infectious. A similar incident in Mexico caused outrage among the big wigs and hacks. Femexfut (The Mexican Football Association) El Presidente, Alfonso Sabater said:

‘A gay kiss is not a good example for children and vulnerable people. We must censor this behaviour.’

Get the madam!

*2014 Update: There used to be a YouTube video of the French kissers which has since been removed. I wonder why?

 

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21 thoughts on “Rainbow Sporting Heroes

  1. Doesn’t mean there aren’t any gay footballers, just that it’s not (yet) cool to admit it in that particular bastion of Y-chromosomes. Or did you include female soccer players too?
    As for Alfonso Sabater, I thought it was de rigueur for footballers to snog on the pitch to celebrate a goal.

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    1. I’m really pleased that the profile of women’s soccer is rising all the time. GB seem to be doing well in the Olympics. As for the boys, no doubt there’s always been a few closets in the camp but until they drop the whole macho thing, few will come out.

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  2. What a sweet kiss. And guess what, Giroud has signed up with MY team Arsenal for the new season. Aaah. But there are gay footballers, I am sure! They just haven’t come out yet. And yes, the footballers are macho, but they hug and kiss and get all tangled up with each other all the time on the pitch. Nobody thinks anything of it though…Yes, I am all for women’s soccer too. There are some great women’s teams around!

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  3. . . not related, but this flashed through my addled mind as I read your post – back in the year 1963 when I was training for the paras our jump instructor (so many sexual innuendos) suggested we should hurl ourselves through the door with ‘. . gay abandon!’ Wonder what they hurl themselves through the door with these days.

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  4. ‘There was Justin Fashanu a few years back, of course, but his revelation led to excommunication by the soccer establishment, misery and his eventual suicide. It was a shameful episode.’

    Honestly, it wasn’t that bad. This view of what happened to Justin Fashanu after he came out has been used repeatedly as a warning to gay players to stay in the closet. But a serious knee injury had far more effect on his career than homophobia. In the season before he came out Justin Fashanu, who was trying to come back from the injury, had trials with four English league clubs and none of them thought he was good enough to keep on. Three years after coming out he was playing for the Scottish club, Hearts, against Athletico Madrid, in the UEFA Cup.

    Fashanu committed suicide after he had retired as a player and when there was a warrant out for his arrest after he was accused of sexual abuse. There was no direct link with homophobia in football.

    Fashanu actually demonstrated that it was possible to play professional football in Britain as an openly gay man and it is unfortunate that his experience has (understandably) been misinterpreted to suggest the opposite.

    Jim Read, author of Justin Fashanu: The Biography

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    1. Hi Jim

      Thanks for the clarification which shows how history can be misinterpreted (by me as well as others) to support a message. It still begs the question why there aren’t any openly gay players in professional football (that I know of). Do you have a theory about this? I must put your book on my shopping list!

      Cheers

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      1. Hi Jack

        Let’s face it, there are hardly any men playing team sports professionally anywhere in the world who are out as gay and so football isn’t so different. The amount of abuse opposition fans aim at players on the pitch must be a huge fear factor plus the amount of attention – positive and negative – a gay player would have to deal with. But I do feel the way Justin Fashanu’s story has been wrongly presented has acted as a dire warning to any other footballer thinking of coming out. He did have to show a lot of courage and had already done so in coping with racism. But his experience demonstrated that if you play well for your club supporters will get behind you and that is one way prejudice can be overcome.

        Now you are in Norfolk you will find Justin is remembered with great fondness by supporters of the Canaries and just about anyone who met him.

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      2. Hi Jim

        I’m glad you’re setting the record straight (no pun intended). There may just be a glimmer of hope with the Olympics and the small number of competitors who have come out. No one should have to, of course, but it does provide good role models for young gay people everywhere.

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  5. Justin’s sad story aside, the fact remains that there must [statistically speaking] be far more gay sports stars than have so far felt able to come out. The few notable exceptions are noteable, but so few that the problem is clear. We still have so far to go…

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