The Observer, in the wake of Jason Collins coming out, is reporting eight EPL players have come out in private to the head of England’s Professional Footballers Association. England’s Gay Football Supporters’ Network says several players are out within their clubs without issue. Seven of the players said their reason for not going public was potential media and fan reaction, not that of the locker room.
“The danger is what happens when a player comes out and gets loads of support and attention, but then start playing badly. The worry is that fans will start getting on their backs and they may lose the confidence of their manager and it could be connected to their sexuality.”
Even that fear may pale compared with an away match in notably less tolerant Eastern Europe.
England has had an openly gay footballer before. Striker Justin Fashanu, who earned fame as the “first £1m black footballer” when he signed for Nottingham Forest came out in 1990 and kept playing until 1994. His sexuality was reported to be one of the reasons he fell out with famed manager Brian Clough in the early 1980s. Fashanu committed suicide in 1998 after he was accused of sexual assault in Maryland.
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