Tottenham Hotspurs striker Louis Saha speaks to homophobia in football in this interview from the London Evening Standard:
This week, Cesare Prandelli, who will coach Italy at Euro 2012, called on football to “respect the freedom of the individual” and hoped that soon players would feel comfortable about coming out. Saha believes these words show that football is capable of moving in the right direction.
“I do think players would accept it, eventually,” he said. “But it would take time and some management. Footballers are very frank people and we are always taking the mick, so when there is something we’re not used to, it’s going to be hard.
“Do you think a player who comes out will be protected enough? I don’t think he would be protected from the fans. Maybe his own fans would be okay but the opposition fans?
“I don’t think it would be easy for him to cope with that. People are rude and if you perform badly, you are insulted badly. If there was someone who fans perceived to be different from the other players, he might end up suffering some big insults and it would be difficult to live with.
“It’s a subject I wanted to look at in the book and now, if the Italy manager is talking about it, it shows it’s a live issue. I know the stories about people in other sports and if they help other gay people to express themselves, then it can only be a good thing.
“When there is a problem, there has to be a solution and I have tried not to hide from these subjects. You have to be tolerant and even if someone is making a joke, it might still be painful for someone to hear. This is something that society wants to have a solution for.”
Read in full HERE.