Anders Lindegaard has today spoken out about homosexuality in football, rightly suggesting that footballers are too afraid to come out because of the treatment they would receive from the fans.
The last footballer to come out was Justin Fashanu in 1990 but it would be ridiculous to presume there haven’t been any gay footballers since then.
Lindegaard, who is in a long-term relationship with Missé Beqiri, believes that footballers would be accepting of a team mate if he told them he was gay, but the acceptance from fans would be more difficult to achieve.
“As a footballer I think first and foremost that a homosexual colleague is afraid of the reception he could get from the fans,” he said. “My impression is that the players would not have a problem accepting a homosexual. Homosexuality in football is a taboo subject. The atmosphere on the pitch and in the stands is tough. The mechanisms are primitive, and it is often expressed through a classic stereotype that a real man should be brave, strong and aggressive. And it is not the image that a football fan associates with a gay person. The problem for me is that a lot of football fans are stuck in a time of intolerance that does not deserve to be compared with modern society’s development in the last decades. While the rest of the world has been more liberal, civilised and less prejudiced, the world of football remains stuck in the past when it comes to tolerance. To turn a blind eye only indicates that one is not recognising that there is a problem. Of course there is a problem if young homosexuals, who love football, have to quit the sport because they feel excluded. That is in every way an unpleasant trend that does not belong in a modern and liberal society. Any discrimination towards people is and should be totally unacceptable, whether it is about skin colour, religion, sexuality etc. Homosexuals are in need of a hero. They are in need of someone who dares to stand up for their sexuality.”
Read Lindegaard’s view in full on this blog.