Gareth Thomas & BBC Release 'Hate in the Beautiful Game' - A Look Inside Homophobia In Soccer
Over here in America, I cannot think of many degrading chants during any major sporting events, except "SIEVE" toward a hockey goalie that just allowed a puck to sneak by. Once in a while some moron will say a racist thing, or a homosexual slur, but I don't think as a rule, American crowds do not come close to what happens overseas at soccer matches. Watching the first minute of the documentary inserted below had my jaw on my keyboard.
Fifty years ago, homosexual acts between consenting male adults were decriminalized in Britain. In this documentary, former Wales and Lions rugby union captain Gareth 'Alfie' Thomas - arguably the most famous gay international sports star - takes a hard-hitting personal look at what he sees as the last bastion of open homophobia in sport - professional football.
Earlier this year a committee of MPs published a report on homophobia in sport. Whilst it praised many changes for the good, reflecting sport's acceptance and inclusion of LGBT people over the past decade, it was notably scathing and damning of football. There are around 5,000 professional footballers in the UK, so it's statistically implausible that none are gay. Yet there are no openly gay footballers. Indeed, only one professional footballer, Justin Fashanu, has ever come out while playing the game. He killed himself in 1998.
So what is preventing gay footballers from coming out?
From Cardiff City to the House of Commons, from Arsenal to LA, Alfie meets fans, players and managers, as well as pressure groups, lawyers and police. He encounters open homophobia in the stands and suffers personal abuse by football fans online. Alfie also tries his best to meet those who run the game - but is forced to play continual 'cat and mouse' with the heads of the FA and the Premier League. Why do they seem so keen to avoid him? - youtube.com
Thomas visits with many from all aspects of the soccer world to discuss the homophobic environment that exists in the professional realm. He meets up with Robbie Rogers who played for the UK team Leeds United. Rogers left England once he came out believing that a gay athlete would be more accepted in the US.
The video is about 58 minutes long, but I had to stop after the first 3 minutes for my blood was boiling.
I could seriously not attend a soccer game overseas if this was the behavior of the fans around me.
Could you play the game professionally if you were gay? Imagine what an out player in the soccer world would have to go through?
Or do you think if a player was gay and out, would the moronic, homophobic, immature behavior of the fans change?
Did you get further into the video than I did?
Thank you Gareth Thomas, Robbie Rogers, and others for putting a spotlight on this type of activity. I think many of us over here in the US didn't realize how bad it truly was.