DI CUNNINGHAM ON GAY PLAYER RUMOURS

22/07/19

Proud Canaries' Di Cunningham on the rumours that a Norwich player is planning to come out

There’s a claim on social media that an NCFC player will come out as gay this week as yet another Twitter profile appeared joining a growing number set up following the launch of the @footballergay account. My own response to that story - of a Championship footballer’s ambition to come out - is that the PFA, FA, Leagues and campaigns such as Football v Homophobia and Stonewall have sophisticated support systems in place to help. So I’d expect any genuine player to explore options using that expertise rather than simply tweet into the void, without reference even to their agent.

Of course I’d like it to be the case that at last men’s football will be delivered from the dark age of closeted players vetting any mention of same sex partners in public (in the simple terms of banal couples’ chitchat of holiday or wedding plans) and where young LGBT+ people struggling with their identity have no role model in the elite male game - but I don’t do cognitive dissonance unless it’s Norwich away at Liverpool.

And in terms specifically of the discussion of a Norwich City player, though the account itself is laughable (with an ancient image of the stadium, a RT of a fake Frank Lampard account and - until it was pointed out - a lack of awareness that the team were in Germany recently!), it has had an upside. There have been many supportive comments from allies about how bizarre it is that no top tier male player is out as well as an apparently overwhelmingly appetite for the notion to be true  - but importantly too, from Norwich City fans - there's a disbelief that any member of the squad wouldn’t be able to deal directly with Stuart Webber and his staff. The club recently invited Gareth Thomas to talk to players at all levels from senior squad through to Academy scholars and both Stuart and Zoe Ward met Damian Collins at Westminster to show support for his Homophobia in Football bill, despite the challenges of modern boots (some don’t have lace holes!) there’s always a great show of Rainbow Laces on the Carrow Rd pitch (and from backroom staff too last year) plus this year’s support for the City’s Pride event will be taken to a new level (watch this space!).

It’s the presence of the new Webber/Ward/Kensell- driven inclusive welfare infrastructure and their evident value base that ultimately gives the lie to what sadly seems to be blatant attention seeking. This hoaxer chose the wrong club.

Comments

  1. david gwilliam says:

    It’s a shame as this would be the perfect club to support an lgbt player.

    1. Agreed David – there are lots of reasons why people often don’t come out but the set up at NCFC wouldn’t be one. One issue for any player at any club is that they can be transferred elsewhere at short notice and the nature of their reception in that new dressing room – in the UK or abroad – is unknown.

  2. Daniel Smith says:

    Perhaps the majority of pro footballers want to keep it a private matter. That is essentially what this is, a private matter. Why should they “come out”? They don’t have to prove anything. Providing we’re supportive as a club, which I believe we are, then I’m sure any player will feel that way too. The initiatives from the club and others certainly help to give that impression.

    1. I guess I’ll turn it round Daniel – why should they not be able to come out if they want to? There are out male athletes in most other sports and there are out gay women footballers which suggests there’s something wrong with football. Some see dressing rooms as a potential bullying ground (Leroy Rosenior says that was the case for Justin F at Upton Park) tho that clearly wouldn’t be a problem at Carrow Rd. Others say that Away fans would terrorise an out gay player, while others suggest agents advise their clients that they’d lose sponsors (my own take on that is that the first out male footballers would gain lucrative deals). It may be a combination – along with the thought that however welcoming their current club, a player might be out on loan anywhere in the world next week and that might not be such a safe prospect. I think and hope it won’t be long before there’s youngster, already out before they get their pro contract. Because though there are many reasons for not being out, research shows that people who are – including sports men and women – are better at their job because they can focus all their energy and attention on it rather than hiding who they are by vetting their language and not talking about their home life.

      1. Daniel Smith says:

        They should. It still stands to reason as to why someone should have to “come out” just to appease a few organisations. It’s a personal and private matter. Most people are accepting of homosexuality. The remaining minority will never change, much like any view they have on other personal topics.

        Of course a changing room is a potential “bullying ground”. Then again that’s part of life and goes with the territory of sport. It’s super competitive. I’ve been picked on many times for beliefs, behaviour and God knows what else. But none of it was ever malicious. It’s all part of the bonding. Banter is the term that’s usually used. Surely, your not advocating safe spaces for gay people?

        Justin Fashanu played in the 80s. We’re talking about nearly 40 years ago. A time when hooliganism was rife in this country. Thankfully, we’ve moved on considerably since then.

        People are free to make their own choices and it should remain that way. There should not be organisations trying to use people as an example for their own gains. Should someone want to come out publicly, I would be fully supportive. As I’m sure most would be. However, there is a distinct difference between talking openly with the people around you about your personal life and “coming out” publicly. With the latter, there’s no need for it.

  3. Brian Moore says:

    I am not LGBT but if a City player came out I would buy that shirt in support!

  4. Gabby says:

    “there are out gay women footballers which suggests there’s something wrong with football” the stats would be interesting on this I would predict 50 of females in football are gay, but this is not representative of societies averages so does womens football have a problem of not attracting a even balance?

  5. somepeoplearegayandsomepeoplearen'twhogivesashit says:

    Please would you take the time and care to explain why on earth should anyone have to define what they are by their sexual preference in any profession? How you F*** is how you F*** it matters not one jot to me at all and it really should not matter to you or anyone else.

    I honestly could not give a F*** about how you or anyone else F***s it is, just, F***ing. As long as it is legal of course. Why is how people F*** such a big deal? It’s natural, beautiful and one of the joyous things in life however you do it. No big deal whatsoever. Seriously, it is just f***ing, it’s been going on since forever you haven’t just invented it.

    Perhaps get over yourself and focus your angst on something really worthwhile.

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