A football player in the third-tier of Germany, has used Reddit to come out as gay. Ok, it’s not a ‘high-profile’ player to announce the statement, but it still could be the start of hopefully ending the stigma around homophobia in football.
The German footballer chose to remain anonymous over the social media site, opting to just be known as ‘Eckfahne’ – ‘corner’, in German. Although this is a step in the right direction, in terms of the sport coming to grips with different sexualities, the whole problem is still epitomised up by this scenario.
The young 20-year-old, according to his Reddit account, wants to express his sexuality, yet is held back for all the wrong reasons.
The German player even stated how his teammates at his club think he has a girlfriend – supposedly on one occasion, the lad used a girl to ‘act’ as his girlfriend at an event.
It’s a real problem within the game, that certain players feel an overriding reluctance to be open with the world and fanbase about their sexuality. And unless some changes happen, or perhaps high-profile figures express themselves – it seems that the issue will remain for the foreseeable future.
To be fair, there have been a couple of cases where players have publicly been open about their sexuality. Such as USA winger, Robbie Rogers, and retired German international, Thomas Hitzlsperger. Fortunately, there have been no reports of bad incidents in light of the players coming out.
However, the height of the problem is typified in the case of, Justin Fashanu, the ex-Notts County striker who came out as gay in 1990 – and sadly took his own life in 1998. It led to the player’s brother, John Fashanu, one of the ‘Crazy Gang’, to release a statement saying – ‘My Gay Brother is an outcast’.
Fashanu was described as an outcast, after getting copious amounts of abuse from the terraces. Yes, it was a different time and a while ago, but we fear this could still happen, hence certain players struggles to be public about their sexuality.
The ‘issue’ has rightly so become more ‘accepted’ in other sports, such as rugby. High-profile figures, in the likes of referee, Nigel Owens, and ex-Wales international, Gareth Thomas, revealing their sexuality. Yet, there are still vile occasions where Owens has been trolled from the stands, which just shows that our society is still full of neanderthals.
We still hope the progress rugby has made becomes more of a regular sight in football, but until then, kudos to the young German lad for hopefully kickstarting a more regular pattern.