An anonymous Premier League player who came out as gay has written an open letter saying he will not come out while playing because of the homophobic atmosphere in football.
Despite the progress in attitudes and equality, no male player has featured in English football’s top five leagues during his playing career since Justin Fisano in 1990.
Former West Ham midfielder Thomas Hutzelpurger came out after his retirement, while ex-Leeds winger Robbie Rodgers planned to hang up his boots after coming out in 2013 – but continued to play in the United States.
Rogers has campaigned for LGBT rights since coming out in 2013 / Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
The Sun has published an open letter aimed at officials and fans from a closeted, anonymous Premier League player, detailing his struggle to hide his sexuality from everyone bar a small group of friends and family members. is shown.
“I still have to pinch myself when I run out and play in front of tens of thousands of people every week,” the player wrote. “However there is something that sets me apart from other Premier League players. I am gay.
“Even writing in this letter is a big step for me. But only a select group of family members and friends are aware of my sexuality. I don’t feel ready to share it with my team or my manager. would do
“It’s difficult. I spend most of my life with these guys and when we step on the pitch we are a team. But still, something inside me wants me to talk openly with them. Makes impossible how I feel.”
Quite a view.
The Rainbow Less campaign at Amex. #BHAFC pic.twitter.com/FJjT08qCXP
— Andy Naylor (@AndyNaylorBHAFC) December 8, 2019
The player says he realized he was gay when he was 19, and that keeping it a secret was affecting his mental health.
“On a daily basis, it can be an absolute nightmare,” he added. “And it’s affecting my mental health more and more. I feel trapped and my fear is that revealing the truth about who I am will make things worse. So , although my heart often tells me that I need to do this, my head always says. The same thing: “Why risk all this?”
The player is supported by the Justin Fishnow Foundation, but says the PFA must make ‘fundamental changes’ before any professional footballer feels comfortable coming out – referring to the homophobic slur he has often been heard from supporters as a real problem.
Stonewall and the Premier League have run the Rainbow Less campaign since 2013 / Naomi Baker/Getty Images
“The people running the game have to educate the fans, the players, the managers, the agents, the club owners – basically everyone involved in the game. If I were to take that step, I would want to know that I would be supported every step of the way.” As for my trip right now, I don’t think I will be.
“As things stand, my plan is to stay as long as I feel fit and then come out after I retire.”