Tag Archives: gay

Matt Jarvis shows support for gay footballers in Attitude magazine interview

Coming out could help a gay footballer play better, suggests Jarvis as West Ham winger aims to tackle homophobia

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

21:54 GMT, 3 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:29 GMT, 3 January 2013

West Ham winger Matt Jarvis has insisted it is time a gay footballer felt comfortable enough to come out and believes that doing so could aid an individual's on-pitch performances.

Jarvis has followed the leads of David Beckham and Freddie Ljungberg to become only the third footballer to feature on the cover of the UK's bestselling gay magazine, Attitude, and is confident that homophobia would not be a significant problem.

'It's everyday life,' said Jarvis, who is married. 'It's not something that's going to be a shock.

Supportive: Jarvis believes gay footballers need no longer fear a backlash

Supportive: Jarvis believes gay footballers need no longer fear a backlash

'I'm sure there are many footballers who are gay, but when they decide to actually come out and say it, it is a different story. It's one that I'm sure they've thought about many times. But it's a hard thing for them to do.'

When asked if being out could improve a player's performance, Jarvis responded: 'I'd agree with that. Because you've always got something you're worried about at the back of your mind.

'If you can let that go and then just concentrate on your one goal, which is whichever sport you're doing to the best of your ability, I think that would help. Definitely.'

Record: Jarvis, at 10.75m, is West Ham's club record signing

Record: Jarvis, at 10.75m, is West Ham's club record signing

The first 1m black footballer Justin Fashanu famously came out in 1990
but became the victim of considerable abuse and killed himself eight
years later, and the only player to come out since is Anton Hysen of the
Swedish lower leagues.

Jarvis, however, believes a modern player would receive greater backing and acceptance if he decided to do the same.

'There'd be support everywhere within the football community, whether it be players, fans or within the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association],' Jarvis explained. 'There would definitely be groups of people who would be supportive and help them through it.'

Tragic: The loss of Justin Fashanu may have discouraged other gay footballers from coming out

Tragic: The loss of Justin Fashanu may have discouraged other gay footballers from coming out

Attitude's editor, Matthew Todd, however, believes football has a problem with homophobia and needs to tackle it in the same way it is racism.

'It's ridiculous that there are no openly gay players in professional football,' Todd said.

'There's rightly been a focus on ridding the beautiful game of racism, but there doesn't seem to be much effort to tackle homophobia.

Lion: Jarvis on international duty with England's senior side

Lion: Jarvis on international duty with England's senior side

'We know there are gay players – and fans who support the game religiously – so I hope this starts a discussion and is a small step in the right direction.'

PFA pledge help for gay footballers – Nick Harris

Players union pledges help for gay footballers

|

UPDATED:

21:44 GMT, 15 September 2012

Clarke Carlisle, the chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, has told Inside Sport that the first English footballer to reveal that he is gay can expect to receive a commercial windfall from doing so.

But Carlisle, aware of the lingering homophobia within sections of the game, warns that the PFA could not guarantee that it would be a trouble-free time for the player.

No professional in the English game has come out since Justin Fashanu, who committed suicide in 1998.

Support: Clarke Carlisle said players will be backed

Support: Clarke Carlisle said players will be backed

Carlisle says the PFA have given advice to eight gay players and have assured them of PFA support if they decide to make their sexuality public.

'We feel the industry has changed and that society has changed and is less homophobic, and they will get all the support they need from the PFA,' said Carlisle.

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'But we cannot guarantee to them there won't be a negative reaction if they come out. Something we cannot deny is that the first player to do it will attract mass media intrusion and I think that's what is intimidating – that everything in your life, your family, your relationships, will be under scrutiny.

'Actually, there might well be substantial benefits and commercial opportunities for the first person to do it. That's just a reality, too. But any player considering coming out would need to weigh all this up, particularly the immediate intrusion into their lives.'

Carlisle believes a player might take the step 'reasonably soon', but will not put a time frame on it.

'Even if we as a sport want to be inclusive and against homophobia, which we do, we are in a quandary,' he said.

'We cannot and never will “out” a player, we can only try to create an atmosphere in which they can come out.

'The only point of reference for any of the players who are considering this is Justin Fashanu – and his story is a tragedy.'

Andy, but not Murray

Andy Murray may have won the US Open but an invitation to join the prestigious All England Club at Wimbledon is likely to come sooner to American Andy Roddick than to Britain's No 1.

Next Andy Roddick could be invited to be part of the All England Club

Next Andy Roddick could be invited to be part of the All England Club

The word in tennis is that Roddick, 30, and just retired, may now be invited to become a member of the elite club, which is normally open only to Wimbledon champions and hand-picked invitees.

Roddick, popular with the SW19 crowds, was a runner-up to Roger Federer three times and may now join other multiple runners-up Ken Rosewall and Ivan Lendl (now Murray's coach) as All England members.

Fury as drug cover-up boss is given new job in rugby

A rugby chief executive who was banned from his sport for two years for his pivotal role in a drugs coverup has provoked outrage by being allowed to return to work nine months before his ban has ended.

James Rule was CEO of Hull rugby league club when a group of his players took a banned performance enhancing substance, MHA, which was an ingredient in supplements that had not been properly checked.

Rule was instrumental in the lies told to try to get lenient treatment for one of his players, former Great Britain international Martin Gleeson, after he failed a drugs test.

He was banned for two years for his role in the plot and Gleeson, who admitted his part and helped the authorities catch others involved, got a reduced ban of 18 months.

Last week Rule was appointed chief executive at Widnes and claimed that as he would not be working directly with the players he was not in breach of his ban.

Controversy: Many say James Rule should not be involved at any level

Controversy: Many say James Rule should not be involved at any level

But insiders at UK AntiDoping, the agency leading the fight against drugs in British sport, are embarrassed that Rule can go back to work, believing it makes a mockery of his ban, which UKAD had hailed as a landmark because it punished a corrupt administrator, not an athlete.

UKAD chief Andy Parkinson said: 'UK AntiDoping will continue to ensure [the terms of Rule's ban] are complied with.'

Gleeson, whose own ban still has eight weeks to run, told me: 'I find it very odd that James Rule can go back to work running a club when I'm not allowed near the sport I love. 'I cannot even get a trial or play training games until my ban is up. It's not a level playing field.'

The substance in the Hull case, MHA, has just been banned from all supplements by the government's drugs agency because it has been deemed a risk to public safety.

Football drugs shame

Four footballers in the English game have failed drugs tests and served secret bans since January 2010, Inside Sport can reveal.

No details of the cases have yet been made public because of an administrative blunder between UKAD and the Football Association.

UKAD stopped publishing anonymous details of failed tests in early 2010 but the FA say they were unaware of this, so did not make the information public themselves. Three of the players failed tests after smoking cannabis, while the fourth was found to have taken cocaine.

Failed tests: Three footballers tested positive for cannabis

Failed tests: Three footballers tested positive for cannabis

Three of the players were trainees and the fourth a professional first-teamer. All four served bans.

Further details, including the identity of their clubs, remain confidential and the FA are expected to make a brief statement about the cases on Sunday.

All the players were caught as part of 'recreational' screening by the FA.

They are not obliged to test for 'social' drugs but do so to help keep the game clean. And four cases in 30 months actually represents a steep decline in positive findings, suggesting FA anti-drugs initiatives may be working.

London 2012 Olympics: Tyson Gay lauds "phenomenal" Adam Gemili

Sky's the limit for Gemili, says Gay as sprint star lauds 'phenomenal' display

|

UPDATED:

15:45 GMT, 12 July 2012

American Tyson Gay predicted Britain's Adam Gemili will become one of the greatest sprinters of all time after his 'phenomenal' victory in the world junior championships.

Gemili, 18, stormed to victory in Barcelona on Wednesday night, clocking a new personal best and championship record of 10.05 seconds, making him the fastest British junior in history ahead of Dwain Chambers (10.06secs).

European champion Christophe Lemaitre is the only European athlete to have run quicker than Gemili all season, and former triple world champion Gay was suitably impressed by the teenager's performance.

Record breaker: Gemili smashed the championship record en route to gold

Record breaker: Gemili smashed the championship record en route to gold

'Phenomenal. It was phenomenal,' said Gay, 29, the second fastest man of all time behind Usain Bolt.

'Maybe I can get some tips from him because of the great way he executed (the race).

'He had a great drive phase, came up patient; he did a lot of things I'm working on which I don't know why it's so hard for me to get. He nailed it, man. And he has a lot more potential in the 200m.

Rising star: Gay has tipped Gemili for the top

Rising star: Gay has tipped Gemili for the top

'At 18, that's quite impressive. I think he's going to be around for a while, I think he's going to be one of the greatest sprinters of all time, watching that race. He done it at the big show and that's where it counts.'

Gemili only started concentrating fully on athletics at the start of the year after being a promising footballer previously on the books of Chelsea and Dagenham and Redbridge.

And asked what had impressed him most about the Kent athlete's display, Gay added: 'First of all, he's just started running. That's probably more impressive than anything, for him to pick up the start, the reaction, the drive phase, the finish, in a year. It wasn't perfect but it was damn near.

'For him to do that in a year shows he is a fast learner. And to be running track you have to be a quick learner. You have to come out the blocks, keep focused, react, keep your head down, all at one time in the big show. For him to be able to do that shows he has some talent.

Centre of attention: Gay is the second fastest sprinter of all time

Centre of attention: Gay is the second fastest sprinter of all time

'He has to keep what he's doing, keep listening to his coach, don't change nothing. Don't listen to all the hype. Just carry on with what you're doing.

'For this next four years I don't think people should look for him to break the world record but for him to maintain and get better.

'The time he ran is great for his age. If he goes 9.99 next year, then 9.92 and then the 9.8s in a steady progression, that's what he's capable of doing as long as he stays healthy.'

Gemili's coach had previously expressed concern about the teenager running in the Olympics, fearing he might never recover from getting burnt out in the 'cauldron' of the Games.

Flying the flag: The British star set a new personal best on Wednesday

Flying the flag: The British star set a new personal best on Wednesday

However, Gay believes Gemili is fearless after seeing him train in Florida, where he has indulged in a bit of friendly 'trash talk' with the Briton and nicknamed him Drake, apparently due to his resemblance to the Canadian rapper.

'I think he's tough man, he just needs experience,' added Gay, who joked he was running 10.46 seconds as an 18-year-old.

'As long as keeps humble, and keeps working hard, I think the sky's the limit for him.

'I don't think it (the 100m final in London) is too much too soon because I think anything can happen. I just think he has to continue what he's doing. You tweak a few things but you don't change nothing.

'He's still rough, he's still new to all this so I don't think you should throw a lot at him. I think he's going to get a lot of attention but as long as he understands and has a good team around him, I think he'll be a great athlete for the future.'

British team captain Dai Greene was also hugely impressed by Gemili's performance, saying: 'I don't know too much about sprinting technicalities but I know he won convincingly and ran a PB. It was really impressive.

'It's nice to have someone running so well at such a young age and he seems to have a good mentality as well. I don't think anyone has a bad word to say about him which is very refreshing.

'He looked very laid back, I don't think he realised the magnitude of what he was doing maybe. I wasn't even good enough to qualify for world juniors, never mind win one.

'He did fantastically well and hopefully he can keep pushing over the next few years and really improve as a senior but he's had a fantastic year. Regardless of what happens at the Olympics he's already exceeded all expectation I think.'

Laura Williamson: We"re not in 1962, UEFA has to tackle gay jibes

We're not in 1962, UEFA has to tackle gay jibes

PUBLISHED:

21:00 GMT, 17 June 2012

|

UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 17 June 2012

Nicklas Bendtner faces a UEFA charge
of improper conduct after pulling up his shirt to reveal a pair of
branded boxer shorts in Denmark's 3-2 defeat by Portugal.

Yet Italian striker Antonio Cassano
says he 'hopes there are not any gays' in the Italian team, issues a
swift PR-generated apology and suddenly it's all just one big joke.

Short shrift: Denmark's striker Nicklas Bendtner displays Paddy Power pants

Short shrift: Denmark's striker Nicklas Bendtner displays Paddy Power pants

Did you hear the one about the stupid
footballer with the diamond earrings who sat in a press conference and
used the word 'frocio'- an insulting, derogatory word for a homosexual –
when asked if any of his team-mates were gay

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He only went and said it's 'their problem'!

What a lad.

Cassano's comments, which came in
response to a claim there were two gay footballers in the Italian team,
were predictably pounced upon by gay rights groups, but brought little
more than a tut of disproval from elsewhere.

He showed a 'lack of understanding' and his ideas are 'a little bit confused'.

Others pointed to the dialect he speaks because of his upbringing in Barivecchia, the twisting alleyways of Bari's old town, and even the fact he only underwent heart surgery in November.

You'll have to run that last one by me again, I'm afraid.

UEFA looked the other way, content for their empty 'RESPECT' mantra to be plastered on correctly-branded advertising hoardings.

The organisation even published a flowery interview with Cassano on their website two days later, which contained no mention of his archaic views on sexual orientation.

The article did, however, deem it fitting to mention the Italian's 'wife and son were spotted in the crowd in Gdansk, sporting Italy shirts and cheering him on'.

How lovely for them all.

But what if Cassano had said 'I hope there are no black players in the Italian team' and quickly followed it up with 'but I'm not a racist'

Cue universal condemnation.

Italy, quite rightly, would suddenly have been under intense pressure to throw him out of the squad.

Racism, thank goodness, is no longer a laughing matter in football.

Italian stallion: Antonio Cassano comments have been brushed under the carpet

Italian stallion: Antonio Cassano comments have been brushed under the carpet

But homophobia That isn't so black and white.

Football remains ignorant about an issue it generally seems happy to ignore.

Straight to the point: Gianluigi Buffon and Antonio Cassano at an Italy training session

Straight to the point: Gianluigi Buffon and Antonio Cassano at an Italy training session

It's all a bit uncomfortable, so we would rather not talk about it.

Cassano's attitude showed homosexuality remains a subject of jest and mirth in the dressing room, not something to be taken seriously.

But we live in 2012, not 1962. This isn't acceptable.

It's not about making Cassano the subject of a witch-hunt, but we've missed a trick here.

Don't ban him, or even fine him, but please don't just laugh at him.

Teach him that respect is about more than shaking hands and pressing the hasty apology button on the publicity machine.

The current message is this: you can have a giggle at the idea there might be a gay player among your team-mates, but for heaven's sake don't show us your boxer shorts.

They said what…

BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce discusses the role of additional assistant referees during Holland's 2-1 defeat by Germany last week.

'I haven't seen them make a decision yet,' he said.

Pundit Mark Lawrenson sums up their pointlessness perfectly: 'Yes they have. Short sleeves or long sleeves'

Great read: Racing Through The Dark by David Millar

Great read: Racing Through The Dark by David Millar

… And this is what I have been doing this week

Enjoying Jamie Carragher's Euro 2012 punditry on ITV, particularly his pronunciation of 'Arshavin'. Give him the presenter's job – quick.

…Reading cyclist David Millar's gripping autobiography, Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar, to try and gain a better understanding of why a drugs cheat deserves a second chance at the Olympics.

…Watching a fascinating BBC documentary on the Olympic 1500 metres, including Hicham El Guerrouj holding off Bernard Lagat to win gold at the third attempt in Athens in 2004. Never has the four-year Olympic cycle seemed so brilliant and brutal.

Performance of the week

Remeber Merlene Ottey, the steely-eyed Jamaican sprinter who has competed at more Olympics and won more World Championship medals (14) than any other track and field athlete

She ran 11.82 seconds for 100m this weekend – at the age of 52. A place in the relay team in London – 32 years after her first Olympics – is on the cards. Incredible.

Inspirational: Jamaican track star Merlene Ottey

Inspirational: Jamaican track star Merlene Ottey

Jason Alexander apologises for calling cricket "gay" sport

Seinfeld star Alexander apologises for calling cricket a 'gay' sport

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UPDATED:

22:20 GMT, 3 June 2012


Apology: Jason Alexander was sorry for his remarks

Apology: Jason Alexander was sorry for his remarks

Former Seinfeld star Jason Alexander has apologized for joking during a TV talk show that he considers cricket to be a 'gay' sport.

In a blog post, the actor explained what had led to his remark on CBS's Late Late Show.

He wrote that he at first didn't
grasp why some might object to the comment, but that subsequent
conversations with his gay friends led him to realize his insensitivity.

Alexander's remarks came during
Friday's show in which he told host Craig Ferguson that aspects of
cricket make it a 'gay game' compared to other sports.

The actor's 1,000-word-plus 'message
of amends' says that the joking remark plays into 'hurtful assumptions
and diminishments' about people.

He also wrote that as an actor with many gay friends, he 'should know better.'

Alexander used to play George Costanza in the American sitcom.

PFA launch fresh campaign on homophobia awareness: EXCLUSIVE

EXCLUSIVE: All 92 Clubs sent homophobia awareness poster as PFA tackle taboo

Campaign: The PFA have sent a homophobia awareness poster to all 92 clubs

Campaign: The PFA have sent a homophobia awareness poster to all 92 clubs

The PFA will send a poster out to all 92 Premier League and Football League clubs to raise awareness of homophobia in the game.

The union has been working with leading figures in the game for the past few months to tackle the issue and will send out the poster to try to create a 'so what' culture around homosexuality in football and reassure a gay footballer that he will have support from his club, team-mates and the wider public if he does choose to come out.

The poster shows two shirts in a locker room – one with No 7 Gay and the other with No 11 Straight – written on it, with the words ‘When you are part of a team you are never on your own – we are all winners. Football is committed to tackling homophobia’.

The poster has the official backing of the FA, Premier League, Football League, League Managers’ Association and the Kick It Out campaign.

Following the poster, an educational DVD on the subject featuring prominent gay sportsmen and women – including Gareth Thomas, Martina Navratilova ans Swedish footballer Anton Hysen – will be distributed. All 92 clubs have also agreed to sign the government's charter for homophobia and transphobia within sport.

The PFA's head of equalities Simone Pound told Sportsmail: 'We are working hard to tackle homophobia and it is something everyone has a responsibility to address.

'We want the authorities, clubs and fans to create a 'so what' culture around being gay in football. As the players' union, we consider it a vital matter. There has been a step forward recently and football is taking homophobia seriously.'

Making a stand: No British footballer has 'come out' since Justin Fashanu in 1990

Making a stand: No British footballer has 'come out' since Justin Fashanu in 1990

The lack of gay footballers has been brought to the limelight by a BBC documentary being shown on Monday night. In Britain’s Gay Footballers, it will be claimed a gay official was unable to talk to the programme about his sexuality by his bosses at the PGMOL.

No player or official in Britain has come out since Justin Fashanu in 1990 although Hysen in Sweden and David Testo in America did last year. English cricketer Steve Davies and Welsh rugby player Thomas are also openly gay.

Chris Basiurski, chair of the Gay Footballers Support Network, is glad to see the initiative after what, he believes, was a lack of urgency by the Premier League and Football League to address homophobia in football.

‘The leagues have not done anywhere near enough on the issue. They haven’t shown any sign that they are willing to take the issue seriously.’

The BBC are still waiting for a complaint from the Premier League concerning Monday's documentary.

The Premier League say they only refused to let the official speak to the programme because it is a policy that officials never talk to the media.

Australian Open 2012: Laura Robson denies making protest

Protest It's a hairband, says equal rights supporter Robson after defeat

Laura Robson dipped her toe into the swirling waters of activism on Monday by wearing a small rainbow-coloured hairband to express her belief in ‘equal rights’.

The 17-year-old British player made the discreet gesture as she played on the large arena named after Margaret Court, the Australian tennis legend whose outspoken views opposing gay marriage have attracted controversy.

Not a Laura laughs: Robson was one of the five losing Brits

Not a Laura laughs: Robson was one of the five losing Brits

Just a hairband: Robson with her rainbow-coloured accessory

Just a hairband: Robson with her rainbow-coloured accessory

Gay rights campaigners have threatened to stage a protest in the arena during the tournament, but Robson claimed her actions were nothing to do with any wider movement.

‘I didn’t see anything about a protest today,’ she said. ‘I wore it because I believe in equal rights for everyone, that’s it. It is not a protest, it’s just a hairband.’