Tag Archives: homophobia

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

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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.'

Ravel Morrison in homophobic tweet storm

West Ham new boy Morrison in tweet storm after homophobic comment

Ravel Morrison has started his West Ham career by writing a homophobic message on Twitter.

The midfielder, 19, who moved from Manchester United on deadline day in a 650,000 initial deal, responded angrily after been antagonised on the social networking site.

He has since deleted the tweet.

Announcing himself: Ravel Morrison left Manchester United for West Ham on deadline day

Announcing himself: Ravel Morrison left Manchester United for West Ham on deadline day

West Ham did not wish to comment, but a
spokesman for The Justin Campaign, which aims to tackle homophobia in
football, told goal.com: ‘It’s disappointing to hear that yet another
professional footballer in England has used homophobic language.’

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.