Are You Trying to Tell us Something, David?

Ex West Ham and England goalkeeper David James, now at Portsmouth, has written a fascinating ARTICLE in The Observer today, which may cause a few reverberations around the dressing rooms of many Premiership football clubs. He asks why not a single professional footballer has come out of the closet and admitted to being gay. He writes…

If one in 10 people are gay, where are all the gay Premiership stars? It’s a question that’s often asked, but there are only whispers, dodgy rumours and malicious media gossip for answers. Football, it seems, is one of the last professional environments where you can’t be out and proud. In every other entertainment industry we have gay stars. Why should football be different? Are football fans really so incapable of watching a gay player without abusing him? The same bunch of fans who are routinely homophobic always sing along to the camp-as-you-like Scissors Sisters anthems played at grounds up and down the country or the Pet Shop Boys song ‘Go West’?

A senior executive in football said to me he wished all the gay footballers would come out so we could just get on with it. I find that view refreshing. In marketing terms they could make a fortune. Just imagine, football’s first gay couple playing for rival teams, arguing about offside decisions over the dinner table. They would do Hello! magazine, chatshows, advertisements. Would it upset players being naked in the changing room together? What about the after-hours highly homoerotic activities – indulging in football threesomes and roastings? Would football culture ever be the same again? I can’t imagine it would be possible for a 17-year-old to come out, no matter how good he was. The protective bubble of success wouldn’t be there. You’d have to prove yourself first before you could be openly gay and still be accepted…

Down the years I could easily have been accused of being gay. I was a bit different – I modelled for Giorgio Armani, sparking rumours over which designers wanted to get into my pants; I practised yoga; I read, I paint. I’ve been to The Boardwalk – a gay club in Manchester – although I was with my wife at the time, and I’ve even driven past the local gay dogging spot in Devon – there were a couple of guys in tight black shorts and vests looking like Village People try-outs…

I have a number of gay friends and although they wouldn’t want me shouting from the rooftops about their sexuality, I’d like to encourage them to come out. I accept that it’s easy for me to say that, but how many more years will it be before we can talk openly about gay men playing professional football? From next season homophobic chanting is outlawed, which is a start. It’ll still take some sort of new age hero to be the first to come out, but I just hope, for football’s sake, that it happens soon.

There have been a number of rumours down the years about various West Ham players dancing on the other side of the pitch. Would it have made any difference to our support for them? I’d like to think not. Sport seems to be the only section of society nowadays where it is a complete no-no to be openly gay. Even politicians have come out of the closet with no consequence. People just don’t care anymore. Or do they?

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11 Responses to Are You Trying to Tell us Something, David?

  1. mac says:

    “Even politicians have come out of the closet with no consequence.”

    To my knowledge politicians don’t have to be in n environment which involves them getting naked with their colleagues (party conferences excepted of course Iain…).

    Football, along with most sport, is inherently heterosexual. The reason so few players have been open about their sexuality is no doubt because of the narrow-minded, knuckle scraping section of their own and opposing fans (and or players of course) who have been brought up to see all gay men as ‘those bleedin poofters’. Most fans are liberal enough to deal with the odd tale of spit-roasts in Aya Napa from their idols, but would no way be able to handle seeing them stroll arm in arm with their male partner as they potter down the local High Street.

    While football largely remains the domain of the lager and pie brigade, (supporters AND players) and their narrow outlooks, most gay footballers will be delighted to keep their sexuality out of both stadium and dressing-room.

  2. Connor says:

    I think Mr Cilamity might be gay, and have to tell his wife something..

    Does it really matter if they’re gay or not?? It’s about how they play football not there sexuality..

    And if they did tell people .. they would get ALOT of shit from fans everywhere.. unless there was lots.. The only gay footballer I could see at the moment is probly Cristiano Ronaldo lol

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have a big problem with queers and I dont see why i have to have their sexuality rammed down my throat. I dont tell everyone that I am normal, and nor is it anyone elses business. Why is David James so bothered about it anyway?

  4. Mac says:

    Anyone who still calls them ‘queers’ and has a ‘big problem’ with them are exactly the reason homosexuality is still rare in football. Let’s face it, if racism is still rife in football, which it is, we’re decades away from accepting gay players.

  5. Dave says:

    It is a reflection on football as a whole that homosexuality is even still an issue. The idea that sport is inherently heterosexual is simply wrong. The word gymnasium means literally-room for naked exercise, we all know the Greeks back the were indifferent to sexuality. Plenty of sports have gay participants, Magic Johnson in besketball, Abdel Benazzi in rugby (allegedly). Rugby has many gay teams and indeed a gay rugby world cup! Let’s move on and admit there is nothing wrong with it and concentrate on the real problems facing football in this country, namely racism and the fact that West Ham look doomed to relegation when they should be kept in the top flight on principal as the greatest club in history!

  6. Colin D says:

    Your worried about David james’s article Iain. When the first cup final to be played at the new Wembley is between the two biggest cheating clubs in english football. What a shame!

  7. Martin B says:

    and here I was thinking that this blog site would discuss football—why on earth is this drivel here?
    what is it about english speaking countries (USA, UK, NZ) that spend more time on peoples sexuality than actually getting on with life?–do they do this in Sweden or Holland etc—come on guys there is more than enough going on at the Hammers without actually even initimating that there may be a “closet brigade”—if there is, quite frankly who gives a monkeys?

  8. tobias says:

    As far as I’m concerned a player’s sexual preference is about as relevant as the weather forecast on Jupiter. As long as they’re good and can preferably score goals I don’t care.

  9. Dave King says:

    Queer = abnormal, weird strange
    Gay = happy, cheerful joyous…oh call em what you like. Stick a willy where the sun dont shine

  10. Keith R says:

    Yawn …zzz

  11. Kit says:

    I got the impression DJ was gay from this article.

    I agree with just about everything he says.

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