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.