Sunday, 11 December 2011

Football: Crazy

The broadsheets and articles about "gay men and sport", they go together like a horse and dog food.
Today, it's The Independent On Sunday's turn.
'Gay Footballers Should Feel Free To Come Out, Say Fans'
Which is most generous of them, I'm sure you'll agree.
This is another one extrapolated from some ongoing research conducted at the University of Staffordshire.
Its bulletpoint finding - "More than 90 per cent of fans would approve of a gay player and say there is no place for homophobia in football" - was released last year.
(Fagburn doesn't want to trivialise this, but if you conduct a self-selecting online survey asking how fans feel about homophobia in football, you might just possibly get a pro-gay bias...)
Professor Ellis Cashmore has now written up a more detailed analysis for the Journal of Sport & Social Issues.
Tradition dictates I now reduce these to bulletpoints.

• The taboo surrounding gay players in football is a myth.

• Despite overwhelming support for homosexual [sic] players, many fans said they viewed homophobic abuse – frequently cited as a major reason dissuading players from coming out – as good-humoured banter.

• While football itself is ready to accept gay players, anyone coming out would face media intrusion of "titanic proportions", warned Clarke Carlisle, chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association.

• Clubs and agents are cited as the main obstacles to players coming out by more than 40 per cent of fans. "Brand damage" was how one fan put it.

No, I can't quite square all these circles, either.
But at least the IoS didn't include the near obligatory quote from Max Clifford... this time.
He told the IoS two years ago; "It would take a very courageous Premier League footballer to come out because fans are so vociferous in football in a way they aren't in any other sport. There are also barriers to a player coming out from some clubs, firstly because the players are commercial assets and the clubs don't want those assets damaged, and secondly because a player coming out would cause disruption."
Which doesn't sound too wide of the goalmouth to be honest.
Though I do get the feeling here, that everyone seems to be blaming everyone else.

1 comment: